Twelve people developed the parasitic infection trichinellosis after eating raw wild boar at a party in California, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Humans and animals typically develop trichinellosis after eating raw or undercooked meat that contains Trichinella worm larvae, according to the CDC. The worms are released into the small intestine after consumption, where they mature and lay eggs. Eventually, those eggs hatch into immature worms and reach the arteries and muscles. The infection spreads when a human or animal eats meat from an animal with larvae already in its body, the CDC says.
A physician first notified California public health officials of a patient with a probable trichinellosis diagnosis in January 2017. Officials learned that one of the patient’s relatives, as well as three other friends or family members, had been treated at area hospitals for symptoms consistent with trichinellosis, including fever, gastrointestinal issues and muscle pain. Each of these people had attended the same party the previous month, according to the CDC summary.
The hosts of that party said they had served several pork dishes, including larb, a traditional Laotian minced meat salad that often includes raw meat. The larb used meat from a wild boar that the hosts had raised and had slaughtered on their private family farm, they told the Alameda County Public Health Department.
Of the roughly 36 people who either attended the party or later ate food that had been served there, 10 were diagnosed with trichinellosis and two were found to have probable cases of the infection. Nine were hospitalized, and two were admitted to the intensive care unit. Eating larb at the celebration was “significantly associated” with developing the infection, the CDC said.
“The host was educated about reducing the risk for trichinellosis when consuming pigs from his farm by freezing raw meat for 30 days and cooking meat to a minimum internal temperature of 160°F (71.1°C) to kill Trichinella larvae,” the report read. The host also said he would not serve raw pork from his family farm in the future.
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