Trichinella spiralis



Trichinella spiralis is a species of nematode or roundworm parasite, also known as the “pork worm” because of its transmission through eating undercooked pork. After being ingested, the larvae can burrow into the intestinal wall and symptoms of GI upset, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. After penetrating the intestinal wall, the parasite can reach the bloodstream to migrate to skeletal muscle, where it forms cysts to cause myositis. Eosinophilia is a non-specific symptom of a parasitic infection that may also be seen. Also, an infection with trichinella may rarely cause periorbital edema. Bendazoles are the first line of treatment for trichinella infections.

Key Points

  • Trichinella spiralis 
    • Characteristics
      • Type of nematode (roundworm) parasite
    • Transmission
      • Consumption of larvae in undercooked pork
    • Presentation: Trichinellosis
      • GI symptoms
      • Myositis
      • Eosinophilia
      • Periorbital Edema
    • Diagnosis
      • Anti-trichinella antibodies detected in serum
      • Muscle biopsy may be diagnostic
      • PCR may also be used
    • Treatment
      • Bendazoles