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Trichinosis – causes, symptoms, treatment

Trichinosis – is a disease originating from a parasite called trichinella (these are nematodes of the genus Trichinell). We are exposed to this parasite when we eat meat. The larvae that are derived from animals mature in the human small intestine. We are able to become infected with trichinosis only by eating meat, we cannot get it from another person. The meat that is most commonly infected in temperate climates is:

  • Pigs
  • The horses
  • Sheep
  • Wild
  • Rabbits
  • Goats
Trichinosis: the stethoscope lies on the medical history

Trichinosis – the development of the disease

When an infection occurs, gastric juice dissolves the shell, which means that the liberated trichinella larva begins to enter the small intestine, and then also penetrates into the strands of the mucosa. As a result of such interference, the larvae also penetrate the blood or lymphatic system. The whole process ends with the spread of the larvae throughout the body, due to the current produced by the flowing blood. The most common places where the larvae are found are:

The muscles of the diaphragm
Back muscles
The perimeter of the mouth, e.g. the tongue
Intercostal muscles

Over the years and the development of medicine, two types of trichinella development cycle have been distinguished:

Larvae – New, newly interviewed larvae that wander
Adult forms – male or female form, characterized by a size not longer than 5 mm.

It takes about 3 days for the larvae in the human body to mature. This period allows the larvae to reproduce. Only after about 5 days do the females begin to attach themselves to the digestive tract, and then they begin to give birth to more. Young larvae immediately enter the lymph vessels, which allows them to travel throughout the body – that is, spread the disease around the body, making a person worse and worse.

The specificity of the larvae is the possibility of getting anywhere. It has been proven that the larvae can get into any organ, which results in inflammation, and the end result is necrosis.

Trichinosis symptoms

Larvae hatch in about one week to 60 days, but a specific length cannot be determined due to the number of factors that influence the hatching of the larvae. The main factors influencing timing are the amount of infected meat a person has eaten or how much was in the trichinella meat. It was assumed that the shorter the incubation time of the larvae, the more difficult the disease could be to pass through.

Symptoms in people who have eaten meat with the parasite may appear the very next day as a problem with the digestive system. In severe cases, the patient may have problems with swallowing and problems with facial expressions due to paralysis of the facial nerves. There are also two phases of the infection period:

First phase:


Second phase:

Muscle aches
Swelling of the eyelids and the face
Gastro-intestinal disorders
Skin eruptions

Third phase – this is where the larvae settle in the muscles. Due to the colonization of the larvae, the patient may experience numerous and severe discomforts such as muscle pain.

Trichinosis symptoms disappear after about eight weeks.

Diagnosis of trichinosis

The most important thing is not to underestimate the disease. After going to the doctor, you should tell in detail about the symptoms and ailments that have recently occurred. In this case, it is important to inform the doctor when the given symptoms and ailments occur and during this period the diet that we were using at the moment (remember that a diet is also called ordinary nutrition and it does not have any side effects). If, after checking the patient thoroughly with the doctor, symptoms indicate trichinosis, several individual tests are recommended:

Serological test – this is an ELISA test that detects antibodies against trichinella antigens.
Blood test – the results check the content of muscle enzymes and eosinophils, which in large amounts may indicate trichinosis.
Histopathological examination of the muscle – otherwise known as muscle biopsy, the recommendation for the examination is about 10 days from the infection, because the laras need to reach the site and they need about 10 days.
Allergic skin examination

Trichinosis treatment

Over the years, only two treatments for trichinosis have been recognized as the best and the safest options.

Symptomatic treatment – in this case, the pains are mainly treated in the form of their alleviation.
Causal treatment – in this case, the patient is treated with an anti-parasite preparation, e.g. mebendazole (Vermox), pyrantal, albendazole. Treatment with drugs takes about ten days, the most important thing is to react as soon as possible to see a doctor and start causal treatment.

Treatment should take place in a hospital with the participation of specialists. After completing the treatment, you should not strain yourself, and especially watch your muscles.

The complications that may occur are an ideal argument not to ignore the disease. The most common complications include:

Blurred vision
Inflammation of the meninges
Heart failure
Pulmonary embolism
Miscarriage or premature birth
Mental disorders
Heart arythmia

How to prevent trichinosis disease?

Proper meat preparation
Avoiding eating meat that is uncooked or undercooked
Purchase of meat from reliable sources
Buying only researched meat
Liquidation of meat carcasses

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