In the town of Canals in Córdoba province in central Argentina, an outbreak of the parasitic infection, trichinosis has sickened at least 45 people, according to local media reports (computer translated). Six people required hospitalization and no cases were considered serious.

Trichinella spiralis parasite
Trichinella spiralis cysts

The outbreak has been linked to the consumption of salamis and sausages that came from an authorized slaughter, according to the Cordovan government.

Officials say that the establishments from which the animals came, which did not have the official sanitary inspection, have already been identified, and the investigation continues.

Among the cases, there were seven people from the town of Pueblo Italiano, four from Río Cuarto and two from Cintra. All reported having consumed products purchased or from Canals.

In the province of Santa Fe, which is very close to Canals (Venado Tuerto is less than 100 kilometers away), the trichinosis surveillance alert was intensified.

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.

What preventive measures are available?

• Cook all fresh pork, pork products and meat from wild animals to where all the meats reaches 160° F. The meat should turn from pink to gray.
• Freezing pork at -13° F for at least 10 days will kill the cysts. The exception to this rule is strains of Trichinella found in walrus and bear meat which are cold-resistant and must be cooked as noted above.
• Smoking, salting or drying meat is not effective.