CDC Warns Of Brain Worm Infection Linked To Undercooked Bear Meat

Six people contracted “brain worms” after consuming undercooked bear meat at a family gathering, according to a recent statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The incident has raised concerns about the potential health risks associated with consuming wild game.

The outbreak occurred in May 2022 when nine extended family members from Arizona, Minnesota, and South Dakota gathered in South Dakota and shared a meal that included kebabs made from black bear meat. The meat had been harvested by one of the family members in northern Saskatchewan, Canada.

Initially, the bear meat was inadvertently served rare due to its dark color, making it difficult for the family to determine its doneness. Six of the nine family members who ate the meal became ill, with symptoms including fever, severe muscle aches, and swelling around the eyes.

The index patient, a 29-year-old man, was hospitalized and later diagnosed with trichinellosis, a food-borne disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Trichinella or “brain worm.” Three of the six infected individuals required hospitalization but eventually recovered.

The CDC investigation revealed that four of the six infected individuals had eaten both the bear meat and vegetables cooked with the meat, while two had only consumed the vegetables. The family member who harvested the bear was advised to discard any remaining meat.

 

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