Trichinella spiralis

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Key Points

  • Trichinella spiralis
    • Characteristics
      • Type of nematode (roundworm) parasite
    • Transmission
      • Consumption of larvae in undercooked pork
        • Other game meat is sometimes implicated
        • Larvae are ingested (not eggs), and are released from cysts following exposure to stomach juices
    • Presentation: Trichinellosis
      • GI symptoms
        • Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea
        • Caused by burrowing of larvae into intestinal wall
      • Myositis
        • Larvae invade skeletal muscle and become encysted in host muscle cell
        • Muscle pain (myalgia), swelling, tenderness, and weakness develop
      • Eosinophilia
        • Not specific; seen in many parasitic infections
    • Diagnosis
      • Anti-trichinella antibodies detected in serum
      • Muscle biopsy may be diagnostic
      • PCR may also be used
    • Treatment
      • Bendazoles
        • Mebendazole and albendazole are first-line
      • Prednisone may be added in severe cases