Skip all navigation Skip to page navigation

DHHS Home | A-Z Site Map | Divisions | About Us | Contacts | En Español

 
NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Division of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home
 
 

Trichinosis (Trichinellosis)

Trichinosis, also called trichinellosis, is a parasitic disease that people can get by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with the microscopic larvae of a species of worm called Trichinella. This parasite occurs commonly in certain wild carnivorous (meat-eating) wild-game animals such as bears and cougar, but may also occur in domestic and feral pigs.

The first symptoms of trichinosis are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever and abdominal discomfort. Headaches, fevers, chills, cough, eye swelling, aching joints and muscle pains, itchy skin, diarrhea or constipation follow the first symptoms. If the infection is heavy, patients may have difficulty coordinating their movements and experience heart and breathing problems. In severe cases, death can occur.

Infection can only occur by eating raw or undercooked meat containing Trichinella worms; it is not spread person-to-person. People who eat raw or undercooked meats, particularly bear, pork, wild feline (such as cougar), fox, dog, wolf, horse, seal or walrus are at risk for trichinosis. Meats, especially wild game and pork, should be thoroughly cooked to prevent trichinosis.

Once diagnosed, trichinosis can be treated with several safe and effective prescription drugs. Treatment should begin as soon as possible.

For Additional Information