Trichinosis is a foodborne disease caused by a tiny parasitic worm, Trichinella spiralis. Animals such as pigs, cats, rats, and many wild animals including fox, wolf, boar, and bear harbor the parasite in their muscle tissue. The worm is spread when infected animal flesh is ingested by other animals.

Historically, pork products were the most commonly implicated source of human infection, but now commercially raised domestic pork poses a low risk. However, eating undercooked wild game, particularly carnivores, puts one at risk for trichinosis.

Anyone who eats undercooked meat of infected animals can develop trichinosis.

Person-to-person spread does not occur.

Additional Info Group

Last Revised: January 30, 2015