Trichinosis which is also known as trichinellosis in medical term is an inflammation, which is caused from roundworms. These are parasite found in the body of meat eating animals and it enters human body through raw, semi cooked or uncooked meat. When an individual eats undercooked meat having trichinella larvae, then these larvae enters human body and starts to grow as adult worm in the large intestine. They take couple of weeks to grow and then the adult worm starts to produce fresh larvae, which moves to deferent parts of the body. The problem in mainly observed in the rural areas where patient mostly eat semi cooked or raw meat.
Symptoms of the problem start to show up only after the seven to eight weeks after the infection. The intensity of the symptoms mainly depends on the number of pesticides entered the human body through the contaminated meat. In the initial stage when pesticide grows on the small intestine, then patient may experience the following symptoms:
After the worm develops in to an adult and starts to produce larvae, then this mixes with the blood stream and slowly enters the muscles tissue. At this stage patient may experience the following symptoms:
- Muscle ache
- Frequent fever
Trichinella larvae develop in large intestine but after becoming adult they move towards the large intestine. Hence, testing of stool sample does not show up any evidences of this parasite existence. Symptoms are the primary diagnosis of this problem, some of the common symptoms includes:
- Infection in muscle
- Swelling in eyes and in other parts of the body
Blood test: Other than symptoms, blood test also helps in diagnosing Trichinosis. Blood of an infected person show random changes in the count of WBC i.e. white blood cells in the body, in addition; an abnormal formation of antibodies are observed in the blood sample.
Biopsy: blood test provides strong evidences about the existence of Trichinella larvae but still they also prescribe muscle biopsy to confirm Trichinosis. In muscle biopsy a small sample of muscle is taken from patients body for analysis, infected muscle clearly display existence of trichinella larvae.
How Do You Treat Trichinosis?
Usually doctors do not consider Trichinosis serious and most of the time the problem is cured on its own before any medication. Patient suffering from the problem takes few months for complete recovery but some of the after affect such as body ache, diarrhea, fatigue or weakness may exist for months or even for a year. In some serious case patient are asked to take medication for fast and safe recovery.
Anti-Parasitic Medication – This is considered as one of the first line of treatments for trichinosis. If the existence of parasite is identified at a very early stage i.e. during its growth in the large intestine then the problem can be easily treated with Albenza or mebendazole. Both these medications are very effective in removing the worm from the body. As a side effect of the treatment patient may experience some unpleasant gastrointestinal problems. As mentioned above the effect of anti-parasitic medication is high only when the larvae is in growth phase but once it becomes an adult and slowly bury inside the muscles then the effect of this medication becomes very negligible.
Pain Relievers – After severe muscle contraction, patients are given pain relievers for dealing with muscle pain. As time passes larvae forms a hard cyst like structure inside the muscles which results in severe pain and fatigue.
Corticosteroids – In some rare cases, trichinosis also leads to allergic reactions. This happens either when larvae try to enter the muscles tissue or when they are dead but releases dangerous strong chemicals in the body (muscle tissues). In this situation physician may recommend corticosteroid for controlling the infection.
Selection of treatment type depends on patient’s health condition and the severity of the problem.