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(trĭk'ĭnō`sĭs) or


(trĭk'ĭnī`əsĭs), parasitic disease caused by the roundworm Trichinella spiralis. It follows the eating of raw or inadequately cooked meat, especially pork. The larvae are released, reach maturity, and mate in the intestines, the females producing live larvae. The parasites are then carried from the gastrointestinal tract by the bloodstream to various muscles, where they become encysted. It is estimated that 10% to 20% of the adult population of the United States suffers from trichinosis at some time. In many people the disease exhibits no symptoms and is discovered only at autopsy. In others it causes diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms as the worms multiply in the digestive tract. When the larvae circulate through the bloodstream, the patient experiences edema, irregular fever, profuse sweating, muscle soreness and pain, and prostration. There may be involvement of the central nervous system, heart, and lungs; death occurs in about 5% of clinical cases. Once the larvae have imbedded themselves in the muscle tissue, the cysts usually become calcified; however, the infestation usually causes no further symptoms except fatigue and vague muscular pains. There is no specific treatment.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a nematode helminthic disease of human beings and animals caused by infestation with trichinae. Trichinosis is characterized by natural endemism. In human beings, adult trichinae live in the host’s intestine, and the larvae live in striated muscle. The principal symptoms are caused by allergy to substances produced by the metabolism and decomposition of trichinae. Infection follows the consumption of the flesh of infested animals. Fever with a temperature of 39°C and higher, edema of the eyelids and face, muscular pain, and frequently rash, headache, and intestinal disorders occur after ten to 25 days. Improvement is observed within a week or two, but the disease is sometimes severe and even fatal.

Thiabendazole and antiallergenics are used in the treatment of trichinosis. Preventive measures include the maintenance of hygienic living conditions for livestock and the inspection of animal carcasses to be consumed by human beings.


Leikina, E. S. Vazhneishie gel’mintozy cheloveka, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1967.
Trichinosis of animals has been observed in more than 100 species of domestic and wild mammals, including herbivores, carnivores, and rodents. It is most common in swine. Infection follows the consumption of meat waste products, carcasses, and occasionally the feces of animals infested with trichina larvae. The larvae swallowed with food are liberated from their cysts in the animal’s intestine and are transformed into the mature parasite. Its subsequent development in the animal is the same as in human beings. Diseased animals suffer from diarrhea and other digestive disorders, muscular pain, emaciation, and itch. Severe infection leads to edema, thrombosis, pneumonia, and paralysis.
No cure for trichinosis has been developed. Preventive measures include the decontamination of all meat wastes fed to the animals and the supervision of swine grazing in areas inhabited by man or in forests. It is necessary to inspect all swine carcasses and to dispose of the carcasses of diseased animals in an appropriate manner.


Bessonov, A. S. “Trikhinellez.” In Gel’mintozy svinei. Moscow, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Infection by the nematode Trichinella spiralis following ingestion of encysted larvae in raw or partially cooked pork; characterized by eosinophilia, nausea, fever, diarrhea, stiffness and painful swelling of muscles, and facial edema.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.