Outbreak News Today

Trichinosis outbreak linked to brown bear meat in Tomsk, Russia

At least 17 people, including several children have contracted the parasitic infection, trichinosis, after eating smoked brown bear cub in Kataiga village in the Tomsk region of Russia, according to a Tass report (computer translated).

Trichinella spiralis cysts
Image/CDC

“The fact of poisoning is confirmed, 12 people were hospitalized, one victim was taken to Tomsk to SibGMU clinics.” All in all, there are 17 cases of trichinosis. “In total, 29 cases of poisoning were detected in the region,” said EDDU employee Verkhneketskiy district.

The head of Verkheketsk district, Alexey Sidikhin, said: ‘The bear was killed in the summer, if not in the spring.

We are now looking for the hunters on our own. They also need to be warned that there is a risk of serious illness.’

Some meat was smoked, some salted. The hunters gifted the meat to villagers.

Village chief Ivan Nasonov said: ‘We have seized 57 kilograms of bear meat.

‘Some was sent analysis, some was destroyed.’

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.

Related: