The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Trichinosis

Trichinosis is caused by the larvae of roundworms, which live in contaminated meat. If people eat contaminated meat that has not been cooked long enough, the larvae can enter the intestine. Over several weeks, the larvae mature into adults and can spread into tissue throughout the body. Trichinosis is more common in rural areas around the world.

Symptoms
Within 1 to 2 days after ingesting the larvae, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and overall malaise can occur. The severity of the symptoms depends on how much contaminated meat was consumed. In a mild case, an individual may not experience any symptoms. If the worms have entered the bloodstream, more acute symptoms, such as high fever, headache, swelling of the eyelids or face, pink eye, and muscle pain and tenderness, may appear.

Treatment
For a mild case, no treatment may be warranted. The symptoms will resolve on their own, although people may notice intermittent pain, fatigue, and diarrhea for months or even years later. For a more severe case, anti-parasite medication may be used. This treatment is more beneficial early on, before the roundworms have had a chance to spread. Pain relievers may be prescribed to alleviate muscle pain. Sometimes dead or dying larvae release chemicals in the muscles, causing inflammation. In those instances, corticosteroids may be prescribed.

Prevention
Make sure all meat and chicken are cooked to a temperature of 170°F (77°C). Trichinosis is common in pork, so take extra care when cooking this kind of meat. Also, make sure meat grinders and other kitchen tools are kept clean.

Source:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trichinosis/DS00689

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What do you know about infectious disease?

True or False: The only way public health agencies can deal with infectious disease is to have good surveillance in place, wait for an outbreak to happen in a human population, and then rush to contain it.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.

  • Correct!

    By identifying pathogens in the animals where they naturally live and monitoring those organisms as they move from animals into people, it may be possible to prevent deadly new infections of animal origin from entering and racing through human populations.

Infectious Disease Defined

Infectious Disease

A type of illness caused by a pathogenic agent, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, parasites, or abnormal proteins known as prions.

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