Table of contents:
Do you like steaks and roast beefs? Or do you prefer homemade lard? In this article, you will find out why medium rare fried meat should be ordered only in trusted restaurants, what a person and a walrus have in common, what kind of animal lives in our muscles and what to do if you have symptoms of trichinosis.
- What is Trichinosis?
- Where does Trichinella live?
- Trichinella development cycle
- Trichinosis stages
- Why do these symptoms occur?
- The severity of the condition
- What tests do they take
- What Happens to Infected Meat
- Drugs of choice
- Treatment regimen
- Treatment results
What is Trichinosis?
Trichinosis is one of the many parasitic diseases in humans. It is caused by a round worm, whose name is Trichinella spiralis. The parasite received this name because the adult is thin as a hair (translated from the Greek trixos), and its larva is curved into a spiral.
Where does Trichinella live?
Trichinella is scientifically called biohelminth. This means that for its development it needs a living organism, a host. Trichinella, in comparison with other parasite travelers, looks quite lazy: for a full-fledged existence and procreation, one living creature is enough for her. To expand its habitat, it does not need to do anything, just wait for someone to eat its main owner.
Trichinella prefers all types of mammals. The source of human infection with trichinosis can be the meat of pigs, rats, cats, dogs, wild boars, bears and even walruses.
Trichinella development cycle
How does Trichinella enter the human body? Let's trace the life cycle that its larva goes through.
Once in the stomach of the new host, the capsule dissolves under the influence of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. A live larva is released and moves further into the small intestine. In the lumen of the intestine, the larva matures, and after 3-4 days it reaches sexual maturity. Then she meets herself a mate, fertilization takes place, and the "pregnant" female takes root between the villi of the intestine, where she quietly hides until giving birth.
Such analogies are not accidental. The female Trichinella is not a simple oviparous parasite. She literally gives birth to new live larvae, up to two thousand pieces at a time. This fact makes the diagnosis of trichinosis a laborious process.
Newborn larvae enter the lymphatic vessels that envelop the small intestine.
The grown parasites prefer the well-supplied striated muscles: chewing, diaphragmatic, oculomotor and tongue. There they set up a "home" for themselves: they are fenced off with a protective capsule from the host's immune system, coiled into a spiral and wait for the continuation of history. In this form, the larvae can live up to 25 years. To turn back into a sexually mature form, they need to enter the intestines of a new host.
If a person eats contaminated meat, what will happen to him?
- A day or two after eating the meat of a pig infected with trichinosis, a person will feel symptoms more like an intestinal infection:
- General malaise, weakness;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Diarrhea and abdominal pain;
- Increased body temperature.
This is how the intestinal stage of trichinosis begins, which lasts up to 2 months. At this stage, the larvae are most vulnerable to anthelmintic drugs, but treatment for objective reasons is rarely timely.
- Having spread with the blood flow throughout the body, the larvae penetrate the muscles. At this stage of the disease, called muscle, the symptoms are already clearer:
- Myositis: fever, muscle pain, cramps;
- Visual impairment;
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing food
- Allergic dermatitis: itchy skin rash.
Why do these symptoms occur?
The first line of defense against the parasite is eosinophils. The bone marrow receives information about the invasion and begins to create more soldiers - eosinophils. Therefore, in the results of a general blood test, there will always be eosinophilia: an increase in the level of eosinophils is more than 10%. These blood cells surround the invader and inject their enzymes and other active substances into it.
The results of the war are reflected not only on the parasite, but also on all internal organs. An allergic reaction is triggered, the symptoms of which are rash and itching. The vessels of the microcirculatory bed also expand, due to which bruising and edema are formed.
The second line of defense is our immunity. Lymphocytes scan the parasite, find a foreign substance, Trichinosis antigen, and begin to synthesize antibodies. These antibodies stick to the invader and agitate other blood cells to fight the enemy. The higher the titer (number) of antibodies, the stronger the infection.
And what does Trichinella itself do? The larvae have a special device with which they first pierce the intestinal wall, causing intestinal symptoms, and then penetrate the muscles.
The severity of the condition
The severity of symptoms depends on the number of worms that have entered the body. The clinic distinguishes three degrees of severity of the patient's condition:
- Easy: there are practically no symptoms of malaise. For a long time, the temperature is 37-37.5 C.
- Average: the fever is more pronounced, the thermometer shows 38-39 C. The calf muscles hurt, a rash on the skin and swelling of the lower extremities appear.
- Severe: temperature under 40 C, unbearable pain in almost all muscle groups, face swelling, bruising under the eyes, blurred vision, it becomes difficult to breathe.
How can you tell if you have trichinosis? Most often, the diagnosis is made according to epidemic indications. This means that if many people come to hospitals with the same symptoms that have arisen after eating poorly fried meat, they will be examined for this particular disease.
What tests do they take
What indicates a trichinosis infection:
- Complete blood count: eosinophilia more than 10%;
- The titer of antibodies to Trichinosis antigen will rise.
If the diagnosis is doubtful, the patient will take a biopsy of muscle tissue, that is, pinch off a piece of muscle and look at it under a microscope. If the larvae and their capsules are found, then the diagnosis is made.
What Happens to Infected Meat
If the very suspicious meat that caused the disease has survived, then it will be taken to the laboratory. There they will conduct a number of diagnostic tests to identify the causative agent of trichinosis. If the result is positive, it will speed up the correct diagnosis in a person.
If you suddenly find a couple of symptoms after reading this article, you should not self-medicate. See your doctor, he should prescribe all drugs for the treatment of trichinosis.
Let's designate the goals of treatment:
- Relieve symptoms;
- Kill the larvae;
- Prevention of complications.
Drugs of choice
There are two substances that effectively fight trichinosis: mebendazole and albendazole. How do they work?
A person takes pills, they dissolve in the intestines and are absorbed into the blood. The parasites feed on this blood, and the supply of nutrients begins to deplete in their bodies. In fact, helminths starve to death. All vital processes stop.
Mebendazole and albendazole can be prescribed separately and as part of complex therapy. It all depends on the severity of the disease.
- Mild degree: one of the anthelmintic drugs is prescribed at 500-800 mg per day for 7 days;
- Average degree: mebendazole or albendazole 800 mg per day for 2 weeks;
- Severe degree: complex therapy with both drugs for 14 days.
Plus, vitamins are prescribed: selenium, A, C, E, vitamins of group B. And ibuprofen fights muscle pain and inflammation.
Treatment is considered successful, after which all clinical symptoms pass and blood tests normalize. In an amicable way, trichinosis is incurable, since none of the existing drugs can destroy their protective capsule.
Usually, after the parasites circulating in the blood are killed, the infection does not recur. But the literature describes cases of reinfection and re-infection.
How can you avoid this dangerous infection? The principles of prevention are quite simple:
- Do not eat in retail outlets that do not have a license and veterinary certificates for products;
- Fry meat well: the larvae die at a temperature of 80C;
- Thawed meat is not a guarantee of safety: Trichinella spp. Survive perfectly in deep freeze;
- Don't taste raw minced meat;
- If you are a hunter, it is better to check your prey at a sanitary and epidemiological station.
Trichinosis is the most formidable parasitic infection that can lead to severe disability and death.
Trichinosis often affects people with weakened immune systems. Strengthen your body. Do not risk your health: follow basic rules of hygiene and common sense. And any trouble will bypass you.