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Outbreak of Trichinosis in Ontario Secondary to the Ingestion of Wild Boar Meat

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Abstract

We report an outbreak of trichinosis from the consumption of locally processed, cold smoked wild boar meat of a domestically reared animal from a farm in Dufferin County, Ontario.

Between January and March 1993, 24 cases of trichinosis were identified and of these, 21 patients were symptomatic. The most common symptoms were myalgia (75%), weakness (75%), fever (71%) and periorbital edema (67%). Eosinophilia and elevated creatine phosphokinase levels were noted in 86% and 89% of patients respectively. Trichinella serology was positive in 55%. Two patients were hospitalized, one with severe diarrhoea and another with myalgia and fever. Several patients appeared to improve temporarily after treatment with albendazole.

This outbreak reminds us that although trichinosis is rare in Ontario, physicians must maintain a high index of suspicion for the disease. To prevent further outbreaks, the Ontario Government has instituted new guidelines for the processing of all wild boar meat.

Résumé

Nous rapportons ici une éclosion de trichinose en Ontario associée à la consommation de viande froide fumée localement et provenant d’un sanglier sauvage gardé en élevage sur une ferme du comté de Dufferin.

Entre janvier et mars 1993, 24 cas de trichinose furent identifiés, dont 21 patients symptomatiques. Les symptômes les plus fréquents étaient : myalgies (75 %), faiblesse (75 %), fièvre (71 %) et oedème péri-orbital (67 %). L’eosinophilic et une élévation des niveaux de créatinine-phosphokinase étaient présentes chez 86 % et 89 % des patients respectivement. La sérologie pour trichinella était positive dans 55 % des cas. Deux patients furent hospitalisés, un présentant des diarrhées sévères et l’autre des myalgies et de la fièvre. Plusieurs patients notèrent une amélioration temporaire après un traitement avec l’albendazole.

Cette éclosion nous rappelle que, bien que la trichinose soit rare en Ontario, les médecins doivent continuer à l’inclure dans leurs diagnostics différentiels. Pour prévenir d’autres éclosions, les autorités sanitaires ontariennes ont mis en place de nouvelles lignes directrices pour le traitement de toute viande de sanglier sauvage.

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Correspondence to Dr. Jay S. Keystone MD, MSc(CTM), FRCPC.

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Greenbloom, S.L., Martin-Smith, P., Isaacs, S. et al. Outbreak of Trichinosis in Ontario Secondary to the Ingestion of Wild Boar Meat. Can J Public Health 88, 52–56 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03403860

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