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Bear meat linked to rare outbreak of roundworm disease – NBC Connecticut

Six family members fell ill with a rare parasitic disease caused by roundworm larvae after eating kebabs made from bear meat.

According to an NBC News report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it revealed new details about the outbreak, which occurred in July 2022 at a nine-person hospital. family reunion in South Dakota.

A family member brought meat to the meeting from a black bear hunted in northern Canada. The meat had been frozen in a domestic freezer for 45 days. Black bear hunting is legal in Canada and many U.S. states.

The family prepared skewers with the defrosted meat, accompanied by grilled vegetables. According to the CDC, the family had difficulty determining whether the skewers were fully cooked because the meat was dark in color. He was therefore unintentionally served and eaten rare.

A week later, a family member – a 29-year-old man from Minnesota – developed a fever, severe muscle pain and swelling around his eyes. He was hospitalized twice due to his symptoms.

The man tested positive for antibodies to Trichinella, a type of roundworm. Five other family members also developed symptoms including fever, headache, stomach pain, diarrhea, muscle pain and swelling around the eyes.

Two other exposed people did not develop any symptoms, and the CDC could not confirm whether the ninth person had been exposed to Trichinella..

The CDC tested the remaining frozen meat and detected larvae of the same roundworm species.

The agency presumed that all six family members suffered from trichinellosis, a disease caused by eating undercooked meat contaminated with Trichinella larvae.

Such infections are rare. From January 2016 to December 2022, the CDC identified seven trichinellosis outbreaks in the United States involving 35 probable or confirmed cases. Most of it was related to bear meat.

Trichinellosis is not the same parasitic infection that presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently revealed he suffered from. Kennedy said the brain infection he contracted came from pork tapeworm larvae.

Two of those infected at the family gathering ate the vegetables without the meat, the CDC said. Meat infected with Trichinella can lead to cross-contamination, so meat and its juices should be separated from other foods during cooking.

Three family members were hospitalized, each having consumed bear meat. They received a treatment called albendazole, which kills parasitic worms and their larvae.

All six people have recovered from the illness.

The CDC report warns that freezing meat will not kill all Trichinella species. The bear meat at the family reunion, for example, was contaminated with a frost-resistant species found in Arctic bears.

“People who consume meat from wild game should be aware that proper cooking is the only reliable way to kill Trichinella parasites,” the report’s authors wrote.

The CDC recommends cooking wild game meat to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which should be checked with a meat thermometer and not by looking at the color of the meat.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com. More from NBC News:

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