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If you are infected with the worms, you might not have or notice any symptoms. Symptoms of larvae in your intestines include

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Tiredness

A week after you are infected, larvae enter your muscle tissue and can cause these symptoms:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • High fever
  • Swelling in your eyes and face
  • Eye infection (conjunctivitis, or pink eye)
  • Rashes

Being infected by a large number of parasites can cause serious problems affecting your heart, breathing, and coordination.

Except in severe cases, symptoms usually go away within a few months. Mild pain and fatigue, however, may last for many months.

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Your healthcare provider may suspect that you have trichinosis based on your symptoms. If you have eaten raw or undercooked meat, be sure to tell your healthcare provider. You can be diagnosed in the following ways:

  • A blood test that shows an increase in the number of a type of white blood cells called eosinophils
  • Examination of muscle tissue (biopsy) under a microscope to look for larvae​


There are several safe and effective prescription drugs available to treat the symptoms of trichinosis. Treatment should begin as soon as possible. Your healthcare provider can decide on the most appropriate treatment based upon symptoms, exposure to raw or undercooked meat, and laboratory test results.


You can kill the parasites by fully cooking (allowing all parts of the meat to reach at least 170ºF) or freezing meat. You should keep in mind, however, that smoking, pickling, and other methods of processing or preserving meats do not kill these parasites.

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Last Updated June 20, 2013