AN OUTBREAK of Trichinella has affected at least 16 people in the Castilla y Leon region of Spain.
Trichinosis is a notifiable disease in Spain and the main source of infection among humans is via consuming raw or undercooked meat products from wild boar or pigs.
Initial symptoms of infection are nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and abdominal discomfort.
Headaches, fevers, chills, cough, swelling of the face and eyes, aching joints and muscle pains, itchy skin, diarrhoea or constipation may follow.
Abdominal symptoms can occur one to two days after infection and further symptoms usually start two to eight weeks after eating contaminated meat
Public health officials in Leon said the incident is affecting people who went hunting in the Valle Gordo and Tremor area.
On April 19, a patient was identified with symptoms matching trichinosis.
The diagnosis was confirmed after further analysis with the person being part of a group of hunters from the Omaña region.
They usually get together with another set of hunters from the Tremor area where they share food and make sausages.
Health authorities began investigations by contacting each potentially affected person.
The probe found 16 people with clinical symptoms compatible with trichinosis who are undergoing treatment, of which four have been confirmed.
More patients may be reported and, as some people do not live in Castilla y Leon, other regional authorities have been informed about these possible cases so they can be investigated.
Samples of wild boar meat and sausages typically consumed by hunters have been analysed by the Salamanca Public Health Laboratory, which confirmed the presence of Trichinella larvae in the sausages.
An outbreak investigation is ongoing to establish the traceability of implicated sausages to find the animal causing the disease and identify the hunting area of origin.
Once this is known, all affected products will be destroyed to minimize the risk of more infections.