Saturday, June 15, 2024

Pediatric Trichinosis

Background

In 1835, James Paget, a first-year medical student at Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, observed the postmortem examination of a middle-aged man. The autopsy revealed extensive pulmonary tuberculosis. Paget also saw numerous miniscule chalky-colored spots in the corpse’s muscles. He further verified the bony texture of these lesions and upon microscopic dissection, concluded that each lesion consisted of a coiled threadlike worm surrounded by a tiny calcified cyst. Paget’s professor, Richard Owen, confirmed his findings. Owen named it the genus Trichina, from the Greek term for hair, and the species spiralis.

A parasitic zoonosis, trichinosis (or trichinellosis), is caused by human ingestion of raw or undercooked meat infected with viable larvae of parasitic roundworms in the genus, Trichinella. Genus Trichinella is a member of the phylum Nematoda within the kingdom Animalia. Within the Trichinella genus, 8 species are known. The species are further differentiated based on whether or not the worms encapsulate in the host’s muscle tissue.

Species that characteristically encapsulate are T.spiralis, T. nelsoni, T. nativa, T. murrelli and T. britovi. Three species, T. papuae, T.pseudospiralis, and T. zimbabwensis, do not encapsulate . Non-encapsulated species infect saurians and crocodilians. T. pseudospiralis infects birds . T.spiralis, T. nelsoni, T. nativa, T. murrelli and T. britovi infect mammalian hosts and encapsulate within the host’s tissues. These five species of parasitic roundworms are found in approximately 150 different carnivorous/omnivorous mammals. Throughout the world, pigs (swine) are the most common meat reservoir consumed by man. Humans are incidental hosts.

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