19 Jan 2004
South Africa News 24 (19 Jan 2004 18:32 SA) 

Muslims hit by pork disease. 48 people in a conservative Muslim district of the city of Izmir in western Turkey have fallen ill with a disease after unknowingly eating uncooked pork. The outbreak of trichinosis, a disease spread by microscopic parasites and usually found in pork products, has been traced to a single seller of "cig kofte", a local delicacy usually made with uncooked veal but which in this case was made with pork.

Cig Kofte (made with pork by mistake)

The cook at the centre of the controversy was reported in Turkish newspapers on Monday as saying he had always ordered veal from a local butcher and had always insisted that the meat be prepared according to Islamic laws. Eating pork is banned according to the Koran. "I am a victim of my butcher," he said, adding that he and his wife had also contracted the disease.

Trichinosis results in fever, muscle soreness, pain, swelling around the eyes, thirst, profuse sweating, chills, weakness, and tiredness; and if untreated could prove fatal.

Dr. Mehmet Ali Ozcel, head of the Turkish Parasitology Association, said he had found the outbreak of trichinosis remarkable considering that since 1950 only 2 cases had been reported.

PrpMed: Trichinella spp. is ubiquitous, and outbreaks are difficult to prevent when meat is mislabeled as coming from a different species. The outbreak in Poland reported by ProMED in 2003 was due to pork that was illegally mixed with Trichinella-infected wild boar meat. - Mod.EP