At least 30 people in San Martin de los Andes (Neuquen province) became ill with trichinellosis after eating smoked boar meat. Health authorities have issued an alert as they do not rule out more cases.
Fernanda Hadad, regional epidemiologist, noted that the 1st case consulted the local hospital some days ago and that the possibility of trichinellosis had been suspected immediately. The suspected meat product was analysed by artificial digestion and enzyme immunoassay, which was positive for Trichinella, in a batch of homemade smoked boar meat.
Most of the victims had eaten the product at a family gathering in San Martin de los Andes. Although the outbreak was controlled once the source of infection was identified, other people in the city may have consumed meat from the same batch and, therefore, the occurrence of new cases cannot be discarded.
The initial symptoms of the disease are fever and muscle aches followed by the appearance of painful cysts within which the parasites are enclosed.
Hadad said health authorities are trying to locate everyone who might have consumed the boar meat and recommended that anyone who has eaten pork or pork products of unknown origin and who, over the past 30 days, has developed symptoms consistent with trichinellosis consult the nearest hospital.
Trichinellosis is a parasitic disease caused by a nematode of the genus, Trichinella. Symptoms include diarrhoea and muscle and joint pains. The parasite is acquired by ingesting undercooked meat containing [parasitic cysts (encysted larvae) in muscle or fat layers). The larvae are released in the small intestine where they develop into adult worms and the females release larvae that migrate through the blood to the striated muscles, where they encyst.