Guests at a Northern California celebration in December 2016 were served a raw pork dish that gave many of them a parasitic disease. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guests at the party were served several pork dishes, including a traditional Laotian dish called larb, which is often made with raw pork meat. The meat in this case came from a domesticated wild boar raised and slaughtered on the party host’s farm.
Time reports that 12 people were sickened with trichinellosis, an infection that can result in fevers, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. The outbreak was first noticed by the CDC after a hospital physician notified the Alameda County Public Health Department of a patient diagnosed with the parasite in January 2017.
Of the 10 confirmed and two probable cases of trichinellosis, nine people were hospitalized and two even required admittance to the intensive care unit. CDC officials were able to test leftover raw pork from the meal and found larvae of Trichinella spiralis, the roundworm parasite that causes the disease.
The host told the CDC that raw pork dishes had been served at previous celebrations without any issue. However, while several cooked pork dishes were served at the same event, only the raw larb was associated with a risk of infection. Health officials urged the host to freeze raw meat for 30 days and cook it to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 degrees Celsius) to kill the hazardous larvae.
"Cultural practices that involve the consumption of raw meat might place certain groups at a higher risk for infection with Trichinella," the CDC concluded.
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