A bear meat kebab sent the whole family to the hospital

According to the CDC report, six people contracted trichinosis caused by ingestion of parasitic worm larvae through food.

A family gathered in South Dakota took an unexpected turn, because the hunt that brought them together around the same table, and especially bear meat, was hiding surprises!

According to Information released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) it all happened in July 2022 at a family gathering of nine that one of the family members brought for table meat hunted in northern Canada. The meat was frozen in a home freezer for 45 days.

Note that black bear hunting is legal in Canada and many US states.

So the family made kababs of melted meat with fried vegetables.

According to the CDC, the family had a hard time determining whether the kebabs were well-cooked because the meat was dark in color. That’s why they served it, eventually eating it undercooked.

A week later, a family member—a 29-year-old Minnesota man—developed a fever, severe muscle aches, and swelling around the eye. He was hospitalized twice for his symptoms.

The man tested positive for antibodies to Trichinella, a type of worm.

Five other family members developed symptoms including fever, headache, stomach pain, diarrhea, muscle aches and swelling around the eyes.

The ninth member of the party could not be confirmed to have eaten bear meat, while two others exposed to the same risk showed no symptoms.

The CDC examined the rest of the frozen meat and found larvae from the same type of worm.

The agency believed that all six members of the family contracted trichinosis, which was caused by eating undercooked meat contaminated with trichinella larvae.

Two of the infected people, meanwhile, ate only vegetables and no meat, the CDC said. However, worm-infested meat can cause cross-contamination, so meat and its juices should be cooked separately from other foods.

3 out of 6 people with trichinosis were hospitalized. All three of these people ate bear meat normally.

What is trichinella and trichinosis

Trichinella is a genus of parasitic worms that can infect humans and various animals. The most famous species of this genus is Trichinella spiralis. Trichinella infections have been reported worldwide, but prevalence can vary by region and is often associated with cultural and dietary practices.

Trichinosis is a disease caused by ingestion of Trichinella larvae.

Infection usually begins when an animal or human consumes raw or undercooked meat containing Trichinella larvae. After being swallowed, the larvae develop into adult worms in the small intestine. Female worms release newborn larvae that enter the bloodstream and migrate to various tissues, including muscle. This migration can cause muscle pain and inflammation.

The disease has different clinical manifestations.

Common clinical manifestations in symptomatic individuals are eosinophilia, fever, myalgia, and periorbital edema.

Ice cream doesn’t kill all trichinella I’ve seen

As noted in the CDC report, freezing meat will not kill all trichinella species. For example, at a family gathering, bear meat was contaminated with a type found in arctic bears that is resistant to freezing.

“People who consume wild game meat should be aware that adequate cooking is the only reliable way to kill trichinella parasites,” the report’s authors write.

The CDC recommends that game be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 74 degrees Celsius, which should be checked with a meat thermometer, not by looking at the color.

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