A number of patients with symptoms of Trichinellosis have been detected near the Italian city of Turin.

A statement from early January by health authorities put the number of people affected at 20 but this past week local media reported up to 50 people are sick. All the wild boar salami still in the possession of implicated hunters was seized and examined for Trichinella with some of it positive for the parasite.

Suspicions were raised by doctors at Susa Hospital and confirmed by investigations at the Amedeo di Savoia hospital in Turin (Torino).

Those sick are hunters or their relatives and friends who live in the Susa Valley (Val di Susa), and consumed fresh wild boar meat a few days before becoming ill.

Ill people went to hospitals reporting gastrointestinal disorders, and in some cases muscle pain and fever. After blood tests, doctors found results typical in cases of parasitic diseases which gave rise to the suspicion of Trichinellosis.

Anyone who has handled or eaten raw boar meet from the implicated areas should monitor themselves for 45 days because it can take that long for symptoms of infection to develop.

Preventing infection
Trichinella had been absent from the area for years, but in October 2017 it was found in a wild boar hunted in Villar Focchiardo. That incident was followed by an information campaign by veterinary services for hunters to make them aware of preventive measures.

Mitigation actions include cooking so the temperature inside the meat reaches 70 degrees C (158 degrees F) for three minutes, freeze the meat for at least a month at minus 15 degrees C (5 degrees F) and if slaughtering at home, use disposable gloves and clean and disinfect the tools used. Salting, drying, smoking and cooking meat in microwaves does not ensure the parasite is killed.

European rules require tests for Trichinella in all slaughtered pigs, wild boars, horses and other farmed or wild animal species susceptible from sites not officially recognized as applying controlled housing conditions. Animals slaughtered for home consumption are not included in the regulation and national rules differ.

Trichinellosis is a disease that people can get by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with the parasite Trichinella, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Initial symptoms are gastrointestinal, usually occurring one to two days after a person consumes raw or undercooked meat from a Trichinella-infected animal. Classic symptoms such as muscle pain, fever, headache and chills often occur two weeks after eating contaminated meat, and can last up to eight weeks. The incubation period can vary from five to 45 days depending on the number of parasites ingested.

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