1 Apr 2004
Statens Serum Institute website

Trichinellosis from imported meat, Denmark. Seven cases of trichinellosis were diagnosed in people who had eaten home-made sausage bought in Romania. The sausage was made from a home-slaughtered pig. The patients developed periorbital edema after 3 weeks with diarrhoea, abdominal pains, and muscle pain. The patients had elevated eosinophil counts and creatine kinase levels. Contacts in Romania had been treated for trichinellosis after eating meat from the same pig.

ProMed: Trichinellosis infection in meat imported from eastern Europe is well-known. Until veterinary control of home-slaughtered animals is commonly enforced, imported home-made food from these countries poses a potential risk. Eosinophils are white blood cells whose numbers are often elevated in helminthic infections, and elevated levels of the muscle enzyme creatine kinase reflect the inflammatory response in the muscles. - Mod.EP

Follow-up Report 

Steve Berger

Background data on trichinellosis in Romania
Year / Cases reported / Rate per 100,000
1980 / 273
1981 / 142
1983 / 217
1990 / 1031 / 4.5
1991 / 1527 / 6.7
1992 / 2147 / 9.4
1993 / 3649 / 15.9
1994 / 3014 / 13.2
1995 / 1965 / 8.6
1996 / 980 / 4.3
1997 / 2037 / 8.9
1998 / 1653 / 7.2
1999 / 1517 / 6.8
2000 / 1176 / 5.2
2001 / 1387 / 6.2

28 outbreaks (230 cases) were reported in 1999 and 29 outbreaks (218 cases) in 2000. No outbreaks have been reported since.

Notable outbreaks: In 1997, over 100 cases — 2027 in one report — were associated with an outbreak traced to pork in Baia Mare. In 2002, 2 cases in Frankfurt, Germany were caused by infested smoked wild boar meat brought into Germany by travelers from Romania. ProMed: Trichinellosis is not uncommon in Romania, and the reported figures probably reflect only a fraction of the real number of cases, many ofwhich will have few or no specific symptoms. - Mod.EP


Dr. G. Weigand

Trichinella infection in Germany from imported meat. 3 cases of Trichinellosis have occurred in Frankfurt am Main in Germany. The source of infection was smoked wild boar meat brought into Germany by travellers from Romania. About 2-3 weeks after the infection, the patients developed myositis, fever, headache, night sweats, severe weakness, and a moderate periorbital swelling.

Leukocyte count was well above 20 000 cells per square mm, with eosinophils up to 48 percent. CPK (and isoenzyme MB) were markedly elevated. Serology turned to be positive about 3-4 weeks after infection. The patients' condition improved considerably after treatment.

ProMed: Cases of Trichinellosis have occurred regularly over the past decade, as documented by the ProMED. It is difficult to prevent home-slaughtered meat from being sent to relatives in western Europe. Such small outbreaks in immigrant circles will probably continue until Trichinella infections are under control in eastern Europe. Trichinella infection is common in Romania, with an incidence reported in 1998 of 7.2 per 100,000 population. - Mod.EP