Russia, Altai Region


Date: Wed 7 Dec 2005
From: ProMED-mail Russian correspondent <>
Source: Amitel News Agency [edited]< news_id=3D48658>

Epidemiologists fear that trichinellosis is worsening in the Altai region, the press-service of the Altai Regional Office of the Russian (Health) Protection Agency (Rospotrebnadzor) said.

According to experts, up until today [7 Dec 2005], 46 persons have been diagnosed with trichinellosis in the region this year. For all of 2004, the number was 33 cases. A principal cause of disease is the use of badger, pork or dog meat not boiled thoroughly and used in shish kebab and sausages.



Wild boar

Altai mountain hunting dog

The Altai region is in the south of Western Siberia near the rivers Bii and Katun. The region shares a border in the south and southeast with Kazakhstan, in the southwest with the Republic of Altai, in the west and northwest with the Kemerovo region, and in the north with the Novosibirsk region. The population is approximately 2.5 million (2005). - ProMED-mail Russian correspondent

Trichinellosis is frequent in Russia, and ProMED has previously reported outbreaks due to infected badgers, dogs and bears being used for human consumption. Only health education can prevent infection by Trichinella from wild animals. - Mod.EP

Russian wild bear

Russian wild bear

Russian sheep dog

Buryatiya, Russia from bear meat

Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005
From: Natalia Pshenichnaya <>
Source: News Agency "" [trans. Corr.NP; edited] <>

12 inhabitants of the Severobajkalskiy district of the Republic of Buryatiya, including 7 children, have contracted trichinellosis. The patients had all eaten meat from a bear, which had not been properly cooked, stated the territorial management of the Russian consumer supervision of the Republic of Buryatiya. 

Children and relatives of one hunter have been infected and are now hospitalized in the infectious branch of the Severobajkalsk station hospital. The bear was killed without the hunter having obtained a hunting licence and was not submitted for veterinary inspection.

 Note: Trichinella larvae in bear meat are not killed when the carcass is frozen, because the meat contains an anti-freeze-like protein that protects the bear from getting frostbite when they hibernate. This same protein protects the worm, too. This insures that all meat-eating animals that live in polar regions will become infected, even if they are strict scavengers. The only effective way of insuring that bear meat is safe to eat is to cook the meat thoroughly.


Vadim Melnik <>
Source: nes agency [trans. Mod.NR; edited]

5 people the village Novaya Bryan, Buryatiya Republic have developed trichinellosis after they ate dog meat. One of them, according to physicians, is in severe condition. It was established that of the 13 young people who ate the dog meat, 5 are confirmed to have trichinellosis, and the rest have been hospitalized.


Buryatiya is located on the shores of Lake Baikal. Over 80 percent of the republic's territory is located in the mountainous region. The republic's economy depends on important agricultural and commercial products including wheat, vegetables, potatoes, timber, leather, and textiles. Fishing, hunting, fur farming, mining, stock raising and food processing are also important economic generators. 

It seems unlikely that people would deliberately eat dog meat, but the meat could illegally have been used in food like sausages. Meat sold as if from other species has been reported previously by ProMED in Poland and Turkey, and the previous outbreak of trichinella in Siberia from meat from a badger and bear suggest that meat from unusual sources may find its way into the diet in Russia. 

From: Natalia Pchenitchnaia <>
Source: News agency "" [trans. Corr.NP; edited] <>

25 inhabitants of Kochkovsky district of Novosibirsk region are hospitalized with a diagnosis of trichinellosis and 6 of them are in serious condition in the Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Novosibirsk.

The source of the outbreak is shish kebabs made from badger meat. Patients assure the attending physicians that shish kebab from a badger is tasty, exotic, and most important, cheap. But meat from these wild animals, as a rule, is infected by Trichinella (species undetermined) and because shish kebab is often not thoroughly cooked, the organisms may survive inside the meat.


"We have not previously seen such big outbreak of trichinellosis from badger meat," said Zinaida Figurenko, a physician in the Department of Infectious Diseases. However, trichinellosis from pork is frequent.

The Novosibirsk region is located in a southeast part of the Western Siberian plains, between the Ob and Irtysh rivers. The total area is 178,000 sq km, and the population approximately 2.7 million. - Corr.NP

Trichinellosis is widespread in carnivores in Russia -- in wild boar and bears -- and also in domestic pigs. We presume that eating badgers is not commonplace, and therefore they are unlikely to be inspected by the veterinary service.


Natalia Pchenitchnaia

For the first time during last 3 years, cases of trichinellosis have been found in the Kabardino-Balkaria district. The patients were 3 local inhabitants who are now in the hospital. The 3 patients come from the same family, and they were apparently infected via pork meat purchased on the local market. Investigation has shown that the seller lacked the necessary documentation to prove the meat had been tested for Trichinella. The last trichinellosis cases in the area were diagnosed 3 years ago.

Commercial cuts of pork

Trichinella infection is widespread in Russia, and the last report from ProMED-mail of Trichinella infection in Russia from pork was in 2000. Apparently, the rules of veterinary inspection of meat were not followed in this case. Domestic pigs can be infected from rats and mice, offal from slaughterhouses and households, garbage, and cannibalism.


22 Nov 2002
Pablo Nart

Smoked bear meat suspected behind outbreak of trichinellosis in Siberia. A trichinosis epidemic has broken out in Siberia, with 71 people affected in Khakassia and Kemerovo so far, Russian health officials report. Among those diagnosed with the disease are 21 children under 14 years of age. All the patients have been hospitalized, and their condition is evaluated as serious, yet stable. According to the officials, the mass contamination has presumably been triggered by consumption of smoked meat of a bear infested with trichinae. Investigation has now been launched to identify the actual causes of the epidemic.

ProMed: Trichinella spp. are found worldwide in many carnivores and are prevalent in Russia. Undercooked wild boar is a well-known source of infection, but other sources including domestic pigs need to be excluded.

RUSSIA (SIBERIA) – Follow-up Report 

Steve Berger

1383 cases (2 fatal) were reported during 1995 to 1997. Trichinella pseudospiralis is found in sylvatic animals (raccoon dog, corsac fox, tiger cat, tawny eagle, and rook) in remote regions (Caucasus, Kazakhstan). An outbreak of approximately 30 cases of human infection has been reported in Kamchatka; local domestic pigs and brown rats were found infected at the time. As many as 61 persons may have been infected by bear meat in Zima (Siberia) during an outbreak in 1997, with additional cases in Sayansk, Angarsk, and Irkutsk. In Samara in 1998, 9 persons developed the disease after ingestion of barbecued badger meat.

A. Tyler Zerwekh
24 Nov 2002

It may be helpful to know that freezing meat at minus 15 degrees C effectively kills the parasite [easy to do in Siberia! - Mod. JW]

This interested responder would like to point out that the method of cooking [the infected bear meat was] "smoking." Albeit one of the finer grilling culinations, smoking poses a public health risk because of the low temperatures involved with the process.

Tyler Zerwekh
MPH Environmental Health & Safety
Biosafety Division University of Texas Health Science Center
Houston, TX, USA

B. Allen B. Clarkson
02 Dec 2002

Regarding the comment in the previous posting in this thread (see reference below), "It may be helpful to know that freezing meat at minus 15 degrees C effectively kills the parasite [easy to do in Siberia! - Mod.JW]":

Trichinella transmitted in very cold climates is not killed by the same low temperature exposure that kills this parasite transmitted in moderate climates. Since posts on ProMED-mail are considered authoritative by many, a correction should be made. The fact that the moderator accepted the comment makes this all the more important.

Allen B Clarkson
Jr PhD Associate Professor Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology
New York University School of Medicine
New York, NY 10010

C. Dr Edoardo Pozio

Concerning the trichinellosis outbreak in Siberia [associated with] the consumption of bear meat and the comment of Dr JT Zerwekh, it is very important to know that freezing game meat of carnivores (for example, brown bear, polar bear, arctic fox, red fox, wolf, raccoon dog, lynx, walrus) at -15 degrees C does not kill larvae of Trichinella nativa present in these animals. Larvae of this Trichinella species in muscle tissue survive to freezing at -18 degrees C up to 5 years! In arctic and subarctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, the only choice to kill larvae of Trichinella present in muscles of carnivorous mammals is by heating at +60 degrees C or at higher temperatures with a time related to the thickness of the meat.

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that muscle larvae of Trichinella britovi (a species present in carnivore mammals and sometimes in wild boars and domestic pigs of temperate regions of Europe and Asia) also survive to freezing for a long period of time.

The following references can be useful to study in depth this subject: 1. Gamble HR, et al. Vet Parasitol 2000; 93: 393-408. 2. Dick TA, Pozio E. Trichinella spp. and trichinellosis. In: WM Samuel, MJ Pybus, Kocan AA (editors). Parasitic diseases of wild mammals, 2nd edition. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 2001: 380-96. 3. Pozio E. Vet Parasitol 2000: 93: 241-62. 4. Pozio E. Vet Parasitol 2001; 98: 133-48.

Dr Edoardo Pozio President of the International Commission on Trichinellosis Laboratory of Parasitology Istituto Superiore di Sanita Rome, Italy Tel.+39 06 4990 2304 Fax +39 06 4938 7065

ProMed: We thank Dr Pozio for his authoritative statement. The paper by CM Kapel and colleagues (J Parasitol 1999; 85(1): 144-7) referred to in a previous posting describes survival of Trichinella nativa for at least 4 months at -18 C in meat from a carnivore host, and survival for shorter periods of T. nativa at -30 C is well known. As only Trichinella nativa and not Trichinella spiralis has been described from Siberia, freezing the meat at -15 C or other temperatures in normal household freezers will not inactivate trichinella in Siberia. - Mod.EP  

27 Mar 2004
Infectious and Parasitology diseases news (25 Mar 2004) 

Cases of trichinellosis frequently registered in Tulskaya oblast (Russia). Sanitary physicians of the Tulskaya oblast, have seen an increase in patients diagnosed with trichinellosis. Since the beginning of 2004 in Tula [the administrative center of Tulskaya] 4 cases of trichinellosis have been documented.

4 people from a village in Tula — including a 4-year-old child — were infected and hospitalized with Trichinella after eating the farm dog.

ProMed: Dog is a well-known host of Trichinella spiralis and Trichinella nativa infections. Transmission can be prevented by thoroughly cooking the meat before consumption, which apparently failed here. Trichinalla spp. are widespread in Russia, and previously reported outbreaks from Russia have come from wild boar and bear. - Mod.EP