An outbreak of Trichinella has sickened at least 16 people in a Spanish city.
Public health officials in the city of León said the incident is affecting people who went hunting in the Valle Gordo and Tremor area.
On April 19, a patient was identified with symptoms matching trichinosis, or trichinellosis. The diagnosis was confirmed after further analysis.
This person reported being part of a group of hunters from the Omaña region. They usually get together with another set of hunters from the Tremor area where they share food and make sausages.
Health authorities began investigations by contacting each potentially affected person. Trichinosis is a notifiable disease in Spain. The main source of human infection is raw or undercooked meat products from wild boar or pigs.
The investigation found 16 people with clinical symptoms compatible with trichinosis who are undergoing treatment, of which four have been confirmed. More patients may be reported and, as some people do not live in Castilla y León, other regional authorities have been informed about these possible cases so they can be investigated.
Samples of wild boar meat and sausages typically consumed by hunters have been analyzed by the Salamanca Public Health Laboratory, which confirmed the presence of Trichinella larvae in chorizo.
Samples will be sent to the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition’s (AESAN) Centro Nacional de Alimentación to determine the Trichinella species.
An outbreak investigation is ongoing to establish the traceability of implicated sausages to find the animal causing the disease and identify the hunting area of origin. Once this is known, all affected products will be destroyed to minimize the risk of more infections.
Trichinella in Argentina
Earlier this year, health officials in a province of Argentina also reported a rise in trichinosis cases.
The Ministry of Health in Santa Fe said outbreaks had been reported in Granadero Baigorria, Capitán Bermúdez, San Lorenzo, and Rufino.
From the beginning of the year, there was an increase in suspected cases of trichinosis in the province. Up to the end of January, 26 suspected and eight confirmed cases were recorded.
The main source of transmission was pork products that had not gone through the necessary controls, said authorities.
Checks at shops were carried out by the Santa Fe Food Safety Agency (Assal) and the National Food Safety and Quality Service (SENASA) was notified.
Authorities urged people not to buy homemade products from the side of the road, as it is not clear where they come from or how such items are made.
Initial symptoms of infection are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and abdominal discomfort. Headaches, fevers, chills, cough, swelling of the face and eyes, aching joints and muscle pains, itchy skin, diarrhea or constipation may follow. Patients may have difficulty coordinating movements, and have heart and breathing problems.
Abdominal symptoms can occur one to two days after infection. Further symptoms usually start two to eight weeks after eating contaminated meat. Freezing, curing or salting, drying, smoking, or microwaving meat may not kill the organism. The best way to prevent trichinellosis is to cook meat to a temperature of 71 degrees C (160 degrees F).
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