Authorities in a province of Argentina have issued a warning following the discovery of a Trichinella outbreak.

Related samples of bacon and dried chorizo sausage were positive for Trichinella spiralis. Products came from the factory of Agroindustria Los Andres S.R.L., located in the municipality of Salliqueló, with the brand name Don Andrés, said authorities.

Affected items were distributed in Daireaux, Hipólito Yrigoyen, Coronel Suárez, Saavedra, Tres Lomas, Trenque Lauquen, Puan, Rivadavia and Adolfo Alsina.

Broader analysis

The epidemiological alert from officials in Buenos Aires came after the detection of suspected cases of trichinosis (or trichinellosis) in districts of the region. In total, 29 people had been exposed but only 15 developed symptoms. They live in Adolfo Alsina and Salliqueló. Trichinellosis is transmitted by eating raw or undercooked pork contaminated with the parasite Trichinella.

From the start of 2023 until July, 27 suspected cases of Trichinosis were reported in the province of Buenos Aires. Six were confirmed, two were probable, and 19 are still under investigation. Confirmed cases lived in Junín and Chivilcoy. An outbreak was also recorded in Chivilcoy linked to a homemade pork dish called bondiola.

This is down from the same period in 2022 when 52 cases were reported and 18 had been confirmed. Also, five outbreaks were registered.

In another incident in early July, health officials in Córdoba reported three cases of trichinosis. One ill person was from the city of Córdoba and two from Río Primero.

Sick people were said to have recovered after being treated in different health centers. Patient interviews pointed to consumption of contaminated salami and chorizo from the Río Primero region.

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 trichinosis is to cook meat to a temperature of 71 degrees C (160 degrees F).

HUS figures

Data published by Argentina’s Ministry of Health has shown a downward trend in hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) cases and notification rates for the country as a whole in the last decade, going from 402 cases per year in 2012 to 304 in 2022. A higher number of cases were seen in the warmer months every year.

HUS is a severe complication associated with E. coli infections that causes kidney failure. Every year on August 19, Argentina has a national day to raise awareness about HUS and ways to prevent it.

In children under 5 years old, there was also a downward trend in cases and rates in this period from 324 cases in 2012 to 222 in 2022.

In 2022, Buenos Aires had the most cases with 127 but the highest rate per 100,000 population was in Rio Negro.

So far this year, 159 cases have been recorded and 126 were in children under the age of 5. At least 122 people required hospitalization and 57 needed intensive care treatment with three deaths recorded.

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