Undercooked pork used to be an issue decades ago because you could run the risk of acquiring Trichinosis. It s a type of roundworm infection. Roundworm parasites use a host body to live and reproduce. Infection occurs primarily among meat-eating animals (carnivores) such as bears and foxes, or meat- and plant-eating animals (omnivores) such as domestic pigs and wild boar. The infection is acquired by eating roundworm larvae in raw or undercooked meat.
Abdominal symptoms can occur one to two days after infection. Other symptoms usually start two to eight weeks after infection. The severity of symptoms usually depends on the number of larvae consumed in the infected meat.
Mild cases of trichinosis — those with only a small number of parasites in your body — may cause no recognizable signs or symptoms. Symptoms can develop with moderate or heavy infestation, sometimes progressing as the parasite travels through your body.
You swallow trichinella larvae encased in a cyst. Your digestive juices dissolve the cyst, releasing the parasite into your body. The larvae then penetrate the wall of the small intestine, where they mature into adult worms and mate. At this stage, you may experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
About a week after infection, the adult female worms produce larvae that go through the intestinal wall, enter your bloodstream, and eventually burrow into muscle or other tissue. This tissue invasion can cause:
- High fever
- Muscle pain and tenderness
- Swelling of the eyelids or face
- Sensitivity to light
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)