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The most common culprit for trichinosis is the roundworm parasite known as trichinella spiralis. Occurrence of trichinosis in United States is very rare with just 10 to 12 cases each year. This infection primarily begins when a person consumes contaminated undercooked meat especially the pork.
The larvae of this parasite are generally seen in the muscle tissue of pigs, wild bears, horses and some other carnivores. Trichinosis infection takes place when any of these animals are consumed either raw or undercooked.
Animals which get infected with trichinella possess cysts pockets of infection in the entire muscle tissue. When these are consumed raw these outer covering wall of the cyst gets broken down by the acids produced by stomach. When the walls are broken, the larvae from inside the cysts come outside and enter the body of the person who consumes it. These larvae further grow and multiply and begin to proliferate into different parts of the body and also in the muscle tissues. The female larvae reproduce giving rise to more number of larvae and spreads the infection further. These egg producing female larvae have a life span of approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Once an egg is produced, it takes further just one week to mature to another larvae stage.
When trichinosis is in its initial phase it shows almost no symptoms. The symptoms become noticeable when the infection further progresses. These symptoms include pain in the abdomen, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, breathlessness, headache and general weakness. In extreme conditions, the person might show multiple organ failures indications.
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