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

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Infectious Disease

Trichinosis

Trichinosis is caused by the larvae of the roundworm (a helminth), 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 tissues throughout the body. Trichinosis is more common in rural areas around the world.

Symptoms
Within 2 to 7 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, 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 roundworm has 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 is 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: Growing evidence suggests that infections are behind many chronic diseases once thought to be caused by genetic, environmental, or lifestyle factors.

  • Correct!
    Growing evidence does suggest that infections are behind many chronic diseases once thought to be caused by genetic, environmental, or lifestyle factors, including peptic ulcers and cervical, liver, and gastric cancers.
  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Growing evidence does suggest that infections are behind many chronic diseases once thought to be caused by genetic, environmental, or lifestyle factors, including peptic ulcers and cervical, liver, and gastric cancers.

Infectious Disease Defined

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health, NIAID conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases.

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