Using Microscopes to Test Meat for the Presence of Trichinella Threadworms

What are Trichinella?

Trichinella are threadworms that can infect wildlife (including bears, foxes, and seals) and domestic animals (especially pigs, dogs, and horses). These worms are about 1mm long and can be found throughout the world. When humans consume raw or undercooked meat from an infected animal, people can be infected with Trichinosis. This disease is currently rare in humans, but testing is still necessary because trichinella are commonly found in many wildlife species.

Bear Muscle Tissue with Trichinella 100x under Microscope

At left is an image of trichinella in bear muscle tissue, digested and captured under the microscope at 100x. Source: CDC

What are Symptoms of Trichinosis?

Initial symptoms appear a few days after consuming infected meat as the worms mature and begin reproducing. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, and abdominal pain. After the trichinella larvae go into the bloodstream and imbed into muscle, symptoms can include headaches, fevers, chills, weakness, cough, muscle pain, and even heart and lung problems. The severity of the disease depends on how many worms were consumed. Anti-parasitic drugs can be used to treat trichinosis but are not effective once larvae imbed into the muscles. Trichinosis can be fatal.

How Can Meat Be Screened for Trichinella?

ZEISS Stemi 508 Microscope for Trichinella ExaminationTissue samples are taken from animals and pooled. Then, samples are digested with acid, minced, heat treated, and strained. The digested sediment is examined under a microscope to look for the presence of trichinella larvae. A stereo microscope with a camera is commonly used for sample analysis.




Recommended Microscopes for Trichinella Analysis:

ZEISS Digital Stemi 305 K EDU BF/DF Stereo Microscope

ZEISS Stemi 508 K EDU BF/DF Stereo Microscope

Have questions about which microscope is right for you? Contact Microscope World at 800-942-0528.