Don’t eat Canadian bears: French health officials
PARIS, April 3, 2006 (AFP) - France's health watchdogs have issued an unusual warning about bear meat, citing the case of French hunters who shot a bear in Canada, ate the meat and then fell violently sick with a parasitic disease.
Twenty-four people set down to a feast near Orleans, central France, to tuck into the bear, whose meat had been brought back from Canada by the hunters, the Weekly Health Bulletin (BEH), published by the Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS), said on Monday.
Seventeen of them fell sick with trichinellosis, an intestinal infection caused by eating meat with microscopic larvae. Eight of the 17 needed to be hospitalised, some of them for nearly two weeks.
Those who ate fully-cooked portions of meat suffered no ill-effects, but those who had even a mouthful of portions that were rare fell ill. The meat was found to be crawling with the worms — the average was 295 larvae per gramme.
The BEH described it as the first “epidemic” of this disease in France.
The symptoms of trichinellosis are nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and fatigue, leading to fever, aching joints and facial swelling. It can be fatal for those with weak hearts.
The bulletin warned hunters against “the common mistake of thinking that meat that comes from animals which have been hunted in the wild is always healthy.”
It noted that individuals who bring wild game meat into France in their luggage face punishment on health grounds.
The worm that causes trichinellosis, Trichinella nativa, can survive being deep-frozen for four months. Temperatures higher than 63 C kill the parasite, but microwaves are not recommended for doing this.
Subject: French news