Health News

CDC Reports Six Cases of Parasitic Worms Infection Linked to Black Bear Meal

Representation for Parasitic Worms

United States: Around six (6) individuals who partook in a repast featuring succulent black bear meat kebabs have been diagnosed with trichinellosis, a parasitic zoonotic infection.

In the current published data, in the CDC update published late in July 2022, a hospitalized 29-year-old man with symptoms highly indicative of trichinellosis was reported by the Minnesota Health Department. 

Other symptoms and signs that accompanied him at admission included pyrexia, intense myalgias, and periorbital swelling, and the reports announced eosinophilia, which is an elevated leukocyte, which is a type of eosinophils. 

Per the publication, a week antecedent to the manifestation of symptoms, the afflicted individual and eight companions partook in a repast comprising the flesh of a black bear, which had been cryogenically preserved for 45 days before being seared and served rare alongside vegetables prepared in conjunction with the meat.

An inquiry into the matter uncovered six cases of trichinellosis, including two individuals who solely consumed the accompanying vegetables. Trichinellosis is an infestation caused by the larvae of trichinella, a genus of nematode. Ordinarily, the meat harboring trichinella larvae emanates from carnivorous animals such as bears, wild boars, or walruses.

Molecular analyses revealed that larvae derived from the bear meat had been subjected to cryopreservation in a domestic freezer for over 15 weeks, with the identified larvae belonging to trichinella native, a species resilient to freezing. The CDC cautions that thorough cooking remains the sole dependable method to eradicate trichinella parasites and that contaminated meat can potentially taint other comestibles.

The CDC reports that six days prior to the onset of symptoms in the initial patient, he and eight kinfolk from Arizona, Minnesota, and South Dakota convened in South Dakota for an extended sojourn. During their gathering, they partook in the consumption of black bear meat procured by a family member in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, in May 2022, as per The Guardian. 

As delineated in the publication, the meat was initially served rare inadvertently, purportedly due to its dark hue, rendering it arduous for the family members to discern its level of doneness visually.

It further stated, “Upon realization by some family members that the meat was undercooked, it was subjected to additional cooking before being served anew.”

Representation for Black Bear Meat | Credits: Google

Three out of the six symptomatic individuals, two of whom sought medical intervention on multiple occasions before being administered treatment, necessitated hospitalization. All three patients underwent trichinellosis-directed therapy utilizing albendazole, a pharmacological agent efficacious against various parasitic worm infestations.

All six symptomatic individuals recuperated, with the CDC noting that those not requiring hospitalization were managed supportively, abstaining from trichinellosis-directed therapy as their symptoms ameliorated spontaneously, reports by The Guardian.

Instances of trichinellosis are infrequently documented across the United States. The majority of reported cases are associated with the consumption of game meat.

From January 2016 to December 2022, the CDC received reports of seven trichinellosis outbreaks in the US, encompassing 35 probable and confirmed cases. Bear meat was implicated or confirmed as the source of infection in the majority of these outbreaks, according to the CDC.

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