Health officials in Belgium have reported that at least 14 people have been infected with the parasitic nematode worm Trichinella after eating wild boar meat at three different restaurants in early November.
So far, seven patients have shown antibodies to the parasite and first stage larvae have been found in muscle biopsies from three of them. Genetic analysis has identified the species responsible for the infection as Trichinella spiralis.
The source of the parasite has been identified as imported wild boar meat originating from a supplier in Girona, Spain. The Belgian Federal Agency for the Security of the Food Chain (FASFC) has recalled the meat, which is vacuum-packed and may be either fresh or frozen, and samples are now being examined.
Trichinellosis in humans is now quite rare in most of Europe, with some countries reporting no cases in recent years. While symptoms are usually mild, in a few cases complications may occur that can prove fatal. All pig, wild boar and horse carcases should be inspected for Trichinella infection in the EU, but it is not clear whether this was done for the wild boar meat responsible for this outbreak.
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