Trichinosis surveillance, United States, 1986

MMWR CDC Surveill Summ. 1988 Dec;37(5):1-8.


Trichinella spiralis is a parasite of carnivorous animals that causes the disease trichinosis. In the United States, people become infected by eating poorly cooked pork products or wild animal meat that is infected with the parasite. Although fewer than 100 cases per year are reported to CDC, trichinosis continues to persist as a public health problem in this country. Public health officials believe that the reported cases represent only a fraction of the total number of cases, since many of the mild or asymptomatic infections are undetected or are misdiagnosed unless they are related to more severe cases. In 1986, 51 cases of trichinosis were reported to CDC from 12 states and the District of Columbia. Thirty-six (71%) of these cases occurred in New Hampshire, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania reported the largest number of cases, 15, or 29% of the total. In 1986, commercial pork products accounted for only three isolated cases of trichinosis. The other cases of trichinosis caused by pork included wild boar or pork purchased directly from a farm. Among those cases in which the food item was known or suspected, pork was incriminated in 26 (61%) cases, bear meat in 14 (33%), and other meat in three (7%) cases. Trichinosis is a preventable disease. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that ready-to-eat pork products be heat treated or frozen to kill the parasite before the products are sold to consumers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild
  • Child
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Seasons
  • Swine
  • Trichinellosis / diagnosis
  • Trichinellosis / epidemiology*
  • Trichinellosis / prevention & control
  • United States
  • Ursidae