Incubation period days

Period of communicability Not transmitted from person-to-person, but once infected animals are infectious, probably for the rest of their life due to repeated doses of infecting nematodes.

Occurrence and distribution Approximately 40 million people of the world's population are affected although trichinosis commonly occurs as a localized outbreak with a group of people all contracting the disease at the same time. A classic example is for a wild pig to be killed and cooked over a fire by turning it on a spit. By this means, only the outside meat is well cooked and inside, the temperature has not been sufficient to kill the larvae. Outbreaks in the industrialized countries and in the urban areas of developing countries are commonly caused by eating sausages, especially of the salami type.

Control and prevention All meat for human consumption should be inspected. The calcified cysts can be detected with the naked eye and by cutting into the muscle. Where an outbreak occurs, such as with eating sausages, the source should be investigated and food hygiene practices enforced.

All meat must be properly cooked until there is no redness in any part of the joint. Cooking slowly for a long time is preferable to cooking quickly or on an open fire where the outside gets overcooked while the inside remains almost raw. Deep freezing of meat for 20 days or irradiation can kill the cysts.

Treatment is symptomatic with steroids. Mebendazole or albendazole should also be given for 4 days.

Surveillance Where an outbreak occurs, the participants at the feast will all start having symptoms at much the same time. By counting back 2 weeks from these cases, the source of infection can be localized.

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