To date, Trichinosis (Trichinella spiralis) has not been proven to be a tick borne disease; however, some patients with Lyme and coinfections have been found to be infected with the parasite (nematode) that generally infects rats, fox, bears, pigs and other mammals. Trichinosis is generally thought to be contracted by humans from eating undercooked pork.

Each adult female parasite produces live larvae, which drill through the intestinal walls and can enter the blood and lymph system. They are then often carried to muscle tissue where they form cysts or become enclosed in a capsule. The parasite is able to complete all stages of development inside one host.

Symptoms & Treatment

The first symptoms of Trichinosis in humans may appear between a few hours or several days after exposure. Trichinosis can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating and diarrhea.

Within a week after the appearance of symptoms, some patients experience facial swelling and fever. After approximately a week, patients can experience severe muscle pain, difficulty breathing, weakening of pulse and blood pressure, heart damage and nervous system disorders, eventually leading to possible death due to heart failure, respiratory complications or kidney problems.

Several immunodiagnostic tests are available to test for the infection, as are muscle biopsies. Typically, patients are treated with either mebendazole or albendazole, however, the ability of the drugs to appropriately address the infection is not clear. Symptoms are reported to be relieved by analgesics and/or corticosteroids.