Trichinosis: A disease that is due to eating raw or undercooked pork or wild game that is infected with Trichinella spiralis larvae. Initial symptoms are abdominal discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, and fever. Next usually come headaches, fevers, chills, cough, eye swelling, aching joints, muscle pains, itchy skin, diarrhea, and constipation. With heavy infection, patients may experience difficulty coordinating movements and have heart and breathing problems. In severe cases, death can occur. The severity of symptoms depends on the number of infectious worms consumed in meat. To avoid trichinosis, pork and wild game meat should be thoroughly cooked (freezing wild game may not effectively kill all worms); all meat that is fed to pigs or other wild animals should be cooked first; meat grinders should be cleaned thoroughly; curing (salting), drying, smoking, and microwaving meat do not consistently kill infective worms. Irradiation of wild game meat can kill the parasites. A person who thinks he or she has trichinosis should seek medical attention. Also known as trichinellosis.
Reviewed on 6/9/2016