Atlas of foodborne infections
transmitted by contaminated food and water

Atlas of Patogens Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Trichinella spiralis

CZ: svalovec stočený, trichinela
EN: trichinella

Occurrence:
Meat and Meat Products
Fruits and Vegetables
Water and Beverages
Delicatessen


Category:
Parasites


Foodborne Disease:
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trichinellosis - nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain, followed by headaches, eye swelling, aching joints and muscles, weakness, and itchy skin; severe cases - difficulty with coordination and heart and breathing problems, can lead to death.


Description:
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Trichinellosis is acquired by ingesting meat containing cysts (encysted larvae) of Trichinella spiralis. 

After exposure to gastric acid and pepsin, the larvae are released from the cysts and invade the small bowel mucosa where they develop into adult worms (female 2.2 mm in length, males 1.2 mm; life span in the small bowel: 4 weeks). 

After 1 week, the females release larvae that migrate to the striated muscles where they encyst . Trichinella pseudospiralis, however, does not encyst.  Encystment is completed in 4 to 5 weeks and the encysted larvae may remain viable for several years.  Ingestion of the encysted larvae perpetuates the cycle. 

Rats and rodents are primarily responsible for maintaining the endemicity of this infection.  Carnivorous/omnivorous animals, such as pigs or bears, feed on infected rodents or meat from other animals.  Different animal hosts are implicated in the life cycle of the different species of Trichinella.  Humans are accidentally infected when eating improperly processed meat of these carnivorous animals (or eating food contaminated with such meat).


Pictures:

Trichinella spiralis
Source: Encysted larvae of Trichinella spiralis in muscle
Trichinella spiralis
Source: Fresh meat from infected animals - source of infection
Trichinella spiralis
Source: Life cycle of Trichinella spiralis
Trichinella spiralis
Source: T. spiralis cysts can survive up to ten years in this form.
Trichinella spiralis
Source: Trichinella spiralis larvae in muscle
Trichinella spiralis
Source: Wild Boars´meat - main source of trichinellosis

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