What’s trichinosis?

If you’re like me, the first time you heard the word ‘trichinosis’, you probably thought it was a funk band from the 70s. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint but trichinosis is actually that disease caused by tiny worms called Trichinella spiralis (we’ll just call them T-spirals for short), which can live in pork and other meats. Now, before you start freaking out and decide to become a vegetarian on the spot, let’s learn more about this curious condition.

What Is It Exactly?

Trichinosis is a parasitic infection that humans can contract by eating raw or undercooked meat (primarily pork) infected with T-spirals larvae. These little guys love to hang out in pigs’ muscles, where they form cysts containing thousands of baby worms ready to party as soon as someone ingest them.

Once these larvae enter your stomach (hopefully due to some careless pig preparation), they hatch and are released into your small intestine where they grow into mature adults capable of laying up 2,000 eggs each! But don’t worry; their time here will be short-lived because after mating -which sounds like an interesting topic for another article- these parasites make their way through your bloodstream using ninjutsu techniques until finally reaching individual muscle fibers throughout your body.


So now we know how trichonisis operates inside our bodies. But how does it feel? Here come those pesky symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Not exactly fun times huh? Unfortunately there’s more coming!

As the adult worms invade muscles tissues all over your body (yes ALL OVER) , inflammation occurs causing muscular pain, itchiness under your skin and in some rare cases – get this – blindness! So next time you’re tempted to down a piece of raw pork belly remember that when it comes to trichinosis you might end up not only with a stomach ache but also blind as bat!

Diagnosis & Treatment

Enough scary stuff right? Let’s talk about how one can diagnose and treat trichinosis.

First things first, if you suspect that something is going on inside yours truly because of the symptoms listed above or any other reason (internal voices don’t count), go see a doctor immediately. A blood test will usually confirm whether or not T-spirals are running wild in your body.

If diagnosed early enough (and assuming no more infections occur) treatment should be relatively straightforward: medication such as albendazole may help eliminate adult worms from your intestines thus alleviating severity of symptoms. The patient might require additional meds though, to tackle larvae still hanging around elsewhere in the body, i.e muscle tissues…

But wait what happens there?

Well…your immune system decides that these parasites smashed into random muscles is NOT OKAY so it forms cysts around them à la “little girl parasitologist”. These cysts can live out their days unnoticed until somehow disturbed leading towards inflammation ,achiness etc – kind of like an unwanted guest crashing at your place for too long !

Pork From ‘The Warthog’’- Is This Even Possible?

It’s true everything we’ve heard so far points once again towards vegetarianism being somewhat idealistic.
However despite the popular beliefs concerning pigs housing tiny co-residents seems overwhelmingly based upon pure myth!
Trichinellosis has been reported for various animals such as foxes,dogs,bears even marine mammals-zoosanitary regulations have actualy been established(citation needed)-to control parasite migration via meat trade.
One would assume however,it’s unusual for pigs to repeatedly be found with this parasite as their digestive system is acidic enough to kill any larvae.
Our dear “mangalitsa’s” notorious porky most often heard in communities –of a certain girth in central Europe- known to some by the name of ‘that pig from the castle’famous -miraculously so it seems-for its fat and superior meat quality,is widely considered exempt from harborin. T-spirals So feel free :”go ahead — enjoy your delicious
mangalitsa sausages”,
…wait do i hear vegetarians sobbing again?


As always, prevention is better than cure right? Now that we know how easy it is for these little worms to enter our bodies let’s talk about keeping them at bay.

Cook meat thoroughly! Heating raw or undercooked meats will prevent cysts containing baby worms from reaching adulthood still inside you; a cooking temperature of at least 77 degrees Celsius (170 Fahrenheit) aka no pink inside should also work wonders!

Trichinellosis can occur through different pathways, not exclusively reliant on ingestion of larval infested meat! From chewing tobacco infected by rodents,luncheon meats,sushi with marine mammal flesh ; consumption habits led researchers into developing molecular procedures due easily applicable samples via genetical identification (citation needed). But until they wrap up those findings which may significantly change our diets avoiding suspicious food items might be prudent after all.

In summary: Do NOT EVER eat raw pork dishes including chinese Crepinettes,christmas German Mett and last but not least Italian Cotechino !

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning along together while yet acquiring that much desired healthy diet ! See you next time folks )

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