About the disease
Trichinosis is an infection carried by parasites that can be found in raw or undercooked meat, mostly pork. The infection is transferred to humans upon consumption of meat that contains these parasitic worms, known as Trichinella spiralis, and cannot be contracted through simple tactile contact with an infected animal. These roundworms can pass through the intestinal tract to body tissue or even the muscles.
Trichinosis has similar symptoms to indigestion, such as nausea and sometimes diarrhea. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe. The most common manifestation of trichinosis is abdominal pain. The severity of the illness depends on the amount of parasites consumed. It can be particularly serious if the larvae of the parasites grow into the worms while inside the person’s gastrointestinal tract.
According to Medicine Net.com, this condition has two phases. The first phase starts to manifest itself approximately one or two days after the consumption of infected meat. Initially, the infected person may feel abdominal discomfort and nausea. The second phase has more pronounced manifestations, such as pain in the muscles and itching. In severe cases, the person may feel chills as well. This phase can be latent for quite a long time, only manifesting itself two weeks or so after ingesting the infected meat. Nonetheless, in almost 90% of all cases of trichinosis, symptoms are so slight that the infection does not cause any discomfort.
- Abdominal pain
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea in some cases
- Fever in some cases
- Muscle pain
- During a general examination, the doctor will palpate the patient’s abdomen and ask about their diet. If nausea is accompanied by abdominal discomfort and muscle pain, the probability that the patient has contracted trichinosis is very high.
- A blood test can be used to measure the level of antibodies in the blood. If the level is high, it suggests that the body is attempting to fight the infection caused by parasites.
- A fecal test is used to find out if the patient has parasites and worms in their intestine.
- Immunofluorescence is an imaging test that allows doctors to examine the gastrointestinal tract and find out if parasites and worms are present.
- Conservative treatment is usually sufficient to treat trichinosis.
- Medicines such as Mintezol and Albenza can kill the worms and parasites, thereby eliminating the inflammation and reducing the nausea and abdominal pain.
- Bed rest and use of analgesics to help relieve muscle pain is also advised during the recovery period.