Parasite infection game

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Section Section. A party of successful out-of-state hunters left Alaska earlier this year with bear meat - and a load of parasites. The incident is a good reminder that the trichinellosis roundworm is widespread in bears and meat needs to be thoroughly cooked, said Dr. Louisa Castrodale, an epidemiologist and veterinarian with the Alaska Department of Health. She said the group of friends became sick after they returned home.

She said the hunters cooked hunks of meat over their campfire.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wild game meat like bear should reach an internal temperature of degrees and rest at that temperature for three minutes. Curing, salting, drying, smoking, or microwaving does not consistently kill the worms, and homemade jerky and sausage were the cause of many cases of trichinellosis reported to CDC in recent years.

Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is the disease caused by a nematode, a tiny worm with an adult and larval form. Trichinella is the genus, and spiralis is the species most adapted to domestic pigs. Beckmen cited a study where infected polar bear meat was frozen at minus 18 degrees centigrade for six years and the parasites were still viable; and another where fox meat frozen for four years was still laden with living larvae, ready to infect a new host. It can survive for parasite infection game very long time in a carcass that is frozen. It wants to be consumed by another potential host later.

Trichinella nativa is found in carnivores such as wolves, foxes, lynx and coyotes, and walrus and seals as well. So how do carnivores live with this parasite? Parasites and their hosts evolve together, and it rarely benefits the parasite to kill its host.

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In people it may migrate throughout the body, it goes to the brain or the eyes, in a dog, it goes to intestine and lives there on the contents. Trichinellosis rarely kills people, but it can cause severe pain, swelling and inflammation. Castrodale said initial symptoms result from the adult parasites in the intestinal tract and include diarrhea. She added that the initial symptoms can be mild and may not even really register. Over the course of the next few weeks the larvae migrate to muscles and establish themselves, which in fever, muscle pain, weakness, and sometimes swelling around the skin of the eyes.

The CDC reports that trichinellosis is rare, and about 20 cases a year are reported. The CDC reports that the host immune response le to expulsion of the adult worms after several weeks; the larvae, once in muscle, can persist for months or years, although symptoms typically wane after several months. Beckmen looked at tissue samples from bears and wolves killed in the state predator parasite infection game program.

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She said the tongue and diaphragm will have most larvae. She added that another parasitic disease, toxoplasmosis, is also prevalent in wild game in northern Alaska and she cautions people against eating raw meat from caribou or marine mammals. Pregnant women should especially abstain, as toxoplasmosis can be damaging or fatal to a developing fetus. Small children are also at risk. More on wildlife diseases that hunters might encounter. A handy one- color PDF on trichinosis and other common wildlife parasites.

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Receive a monthly notice about new issues and articles. Editor: Riley Woodford West 8th St. Juneau, AK Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Hide Section .

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By Riley Woodford. A brown colored black bear.

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Bears and other carnivores and scavengers in Alaska commonly carry the trichinella roundworm parasite, which can be transmitted to people who eat undercooked meat. Richard Housineaux photo.

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Drying is not an appropriate method for curing bear meat, as it doesn't kill the parasites. While the trichinella species most commonly found in pork can be killed by freezing and by heating the meat to degrees, the Alaska trichinella parasite found in bears is more hardy. Meat must be cooked thoroughly to an internal temperature of degrees, and then hold or "rest" at that temperature for at least three minutes.

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Caribou meat can carry a parasitic disease, toxoplasmosis, and should be cooked.

Parasite infection game

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