The Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Cambodia reports on an outbreak of trichinellosis in Chak Tav village, Meanrith commune, Sandan district, Prey Lang area of Kompong Thom province, according to a health department news release (computer translated).

Trichinella spiralis parasite
Trichinella spiralis cysts

After receiving the information of the outbreak, the health ministry immediately sent an Emergency Response Team of the Department of Communicable Disease Control to the area.

The investigation reveals that those affected ate wild meat about 3 to 4 weeks before they were sick and the sick had symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, muscular aches, fatigue, swollen arms, swollen feet, and joint pain. The symptoms began on August 1, 2017, so far, 33 cases have been reported, including 8 deaths (eight men).

Trichinellosis, or trichinosis is a parasitic disease caused most commonly by the roundworm Trichinella spiralis. If someone ingests undercooked or raw meat with the encysted larvae, the stomach acid releases the larvae which mature to adults in the intestine.

After about a week the female starts releasing larvae which enter the bloodstream and find their way to skeletal muscle where they encapsulate.

There can be gastrointestinal symptoms mimicking acute food poisoning when there is activity of the adults in the intestine.

Sudden appearance of fever, muscle soreness and pain with swelling of parts of the face is early classic signs. This can sometimes be followed by retinal hemorrhages and other ocular signs.

With heavy infections cardiac, respiratory and neurological problems may ensue with death by heart failure being most common. The more larvae you ingest, the more serious the disease.