Back in 2022, a 29-year-old man from Minnesota was hospitalized with symptoms of trichinellosis, a disease caused by a parasite that can affect the brain.

According to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, roundworm parasites use a host body to live and reproduce. Symptoms of trichinellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain, severe fatigue, nausea and vomiting, high fever and chills, muscle pain and tenderness, aching joints, swelling of the eyelids or face, weakness, headache, sensitivity to light, pink eye (conjunctivitis), and itchy, irritated skin. In severe cases, it can cause significant damage to the person's muscles, lungs, heart, and brain.

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Officials Determine Cause of Brain Worm Outbreak in Minnesota Family

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) began their investigation in July 2022 when the Minnesota man was hospitalized. He had attended a family gathering in South Dakota the week before, and six other people from that gathering also ended up with trichinellosis.



Health officials discovered that at this gathering, the man and his relatives ate a meal that included bear meat which had been frozen for 45 days before being grilled and served rare with vegetables cooked alongside the meat.


Two of the people who got sick had only eaten the vegetables, showing that the parasite can cross-contaminate other foods during cooking. Everyone has since recovered.

The CDC concluded that the undercooked bear meat was the source of the infection. They say trichinellosis is rarely reported in the United States and recommend cooking wild game meat to an internal temperature of at least 165°F to kill the trichinella parasites.

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