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.

8 dead, 25 hospitalized from trichinellosis in Cambodia

Cambodia’s Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday an outbreak of Trichinellosis in an area in central Kampong Thom province that has left eight people dead and 25 others hospitalized.

In its statement, the ministry said 33 villagers living in Prey Long (forest) area in Sandan district had fallen ill earlier this month, about three weeks after they ate contaminated wild meat that was undercooked, and eight of them had subsequently died in recent weeks.

“The samples of 3 patients’ muscle tissue were tested by the Calmette Hospital’s laboratory and the result confirmed that there were Trichinella larvae in their muscle tissue,” the statement said.

It added that another test on the blood samples from other nine patients by a Vietnamese hospital’s laboratory confirmed that “there were eggs of Trichinalla worms” in their blood.

Cambodian Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said,  “I’d like to appeal to the people to stop eating raw or undercooked meat in order to prevent themselves from infecting Trichinellosis and other diseases.”


USDA consolidates trichinae regs for pork

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing a proposed rule that would consolidate and streamline existing regulations for meat and poultry products. The rule would eliminate redundant trichinae control requirements for pork and pork products and consolidate regulations for thermally processed, commercially sterile meat and poultry products.

trichinosis.porkFSIS is seeking comment on this rule. This rule is a supplement to 2001 FSIS proposed rule that proposed to establish food safety performance standards for all ready-to-eat (RTE) and all partially heat-treated meat and poultry products.

Consistent with the 2001 proposed rule, this supplemental proposed rule, if finalized, will remove the provisions for the prescribed treatment of pork products. FSIS’ Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations require every federally inspected establishment to identify and control food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur, making prescriptive trichinae regulations no longer necessary.

Under this proposed rule, establishments will still be required to control for the risk of trichinae and other parasites. FSIS’ HACCP regulations require establishments to develop science-based controls for trichinae that are appropriate for the hazards identified for each specific establishment. Compliance with FSIS’ HACCP guidelines has proven effective at eliminating trichinae, and the risk for Trichinella infection associated with commercial pork has decreased substantially.

FSIS has developed a compliance guide for establishments to follow should this supplemental proposed rule become final. FSIS developed the compliance guide to help establishments, particularly small and very small establishments, in understanding the controls that are effective for the prevention and elimination of trichinae and other parasites in RTE and not ready-to-eat (NRTE) pork products. FSIS has posted this compliance guide on its Web page ( and is also requesting comments on the guidance. This guidance is consistent with international Trichinae standards including those developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Additionally, FSIS is proposing to consolidate the regulations on thermally processed, commercially sterile meat and poultry products (i.e., canned food products containing meat or poultry) and make minor changes that improve the clarity of the regulations. These changes will streamline and clarify the regulations without any reduction in the existing public health protections. Among the proposed changes, FSIS is proposing to remove redundant equipment descriptions, update wording to reflect FSIS’ current organizational structure, and clarify the regulatory requirements.

Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and may be submitted online via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at