Smarter than your average bear: Trichinosis sends 10 people to the hospital after eating undercooked bear in Russia

Outbreak News Today reports that Russian officials report last week that 10 people from Altai Republic, near the Mongolian border, were hospitalized with trichinosis after consuming undercooked bear cub.

The regional office of Rospotrebnadzor said, “Not all bears, of course, are infected wi. But this sometimes happens, there were simply no such massive cases. We are in control of the situation.”

Earlier, Russians were advised to avoid contact with raw meat and animal blood in Altai, so as not to get infected with bubonic plague. As the infectious disease doctor Ivan Konovalov stated , outbreaks of the plague periodically occur in Russia, where the traditions of local peoples include eating raw animal meat. He emphasized that there is a vaccine against the plague pathogen.

Trichinosis is a parasitic disease caused most commonly by the roundworm Trichinella spiralis. If someone ingests undercooked or raw meat with the encysted larvae, the stomach acid releases the larvae which mature to adults in the intestine.

After about a week the female starts releasing larvae which enter the bloodstream and find their way to skeletal muscle where they encapsulate.

There can be gastrointestinal symptoms mimicking acute food poisoning when there is activity of the adults in the intestine.