Friday, November 7, 2008

Yup, I'm still a nerd

Time for another PARASITE SPOTLIGHT!!!

There was a request for the worm that crawls through the skin, and I found a few, but we'll have to wait until next month, because I found a FUN one!

Trichinella spiralis--but we'll call him Curly!

Curly is yet another worm that is found in almost all types of flesh-eating animals.  About 1.5 million Americans are currently carrying a Curly or two (or a million), and up to 300,000 more Americans get Curly every year.  Most people acquire Curly by eating infected pork.  Now, don't go all vegetarian on me!  At the end of the post, I will tell you how to prevent infection, OK?

As I was saying, Curly is a little larval worm that lives in muscle tissue.  When the infected meat is eaten, Curly makes his home in your small intestine and within two days develops into an adult and is ready to PROCREATE!  One female can produce 1,500 larvae in a few months.  

These little Curly larvae move from the intestines into the blood stream and are carried to many different muscular parts of the body.  Some of their favorite nesting spots are the eye muscles, the shoulders, chest and rib muscles, the diaphragm, the calf muscle, and the tongue!  YUM!  These little Curly kids then enclose themselves in a cyst and wait and wait and wait to get eaten.  Now, hopefully, their parasitic cycle ends in humans!  

Depending on how many larvae you have per gram of body tissue, you could still have symptoms of infection that could cause death.  If you only have 10 larvae per gram of muscle (by the way, a gram is about the weight of a paperclip, so it is a very small unit of mass--most humans weigh tens of thousands of grams), you are probably OK.  If, however, you have 5000 Curly babies in one gram of infected muscle, you could die.  5000 per gram!  AAAAACK!

Now, I don't know if cooking destroys Curly.  It probably does, but again, I don't know.  There are measures being taken to prevent infection.  Laws prevent the feeding of garbage to pigs, which significantly reduces the number of Curlys.   If you don't trust the government, just freeze the meat (quick freeze to -40 degrees C, or freezing it in your normal freezer for 20 days or more) to kill any existing larvae. 

See, all is well.  Just make sure you:  

1)  Freeze your meat.  
2)  Don't eat garbage or feed garbage to your food.

You just went vegetarian, didn't you?  You would.

Maybe this will help you feel better...

Who's yo Daddy?

Thank you to this site and this site for the pictures.  And, thanks to BioRAD for the Video!


*MARY* said...

Don't feed garbage to my food? But my hot pockets love eating potato peels and bed bath and beyond coupons.

Kristina P. said...

I eat raw hamburger all day long. And look at me. Not crazy at all.

Token Asian Friend said...

Mary, if your hot pockets are capable of eating garbage AND THEN you eat them, you have an entirely different problem.

Kristina, deep down, I had a gut feeling you ate raw meat.

Seriously, so blessed! said...

Catchy! I put it on my ipod so I can stroller jog to it today!! Thanx TAF!