Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 29, 2016 - 10:00 am

Nunavut-harvested walrus meat tests positive for trichinella

GN warns anyone consuming walrus to makes sure it's been tested

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Walrus meat harvested near Naujaat Aug. 10 has tested positive for trichinella, the GN said this week, warning Nunavummiut to thoroughly cook any walrus meat they plan to consume. (FILE PHOTO)
Walrus meat harvested near Naujaat Aug. 10 has tested positive for trichinella, the GN said this week, warning Nunavummiut to thoroughly cook any walrus meat they plan to consume. (FILE PHOTO)

If you’re planning to eat walrus meat this summer, first ask the harvester if the meat has been tested.

That’s because walrus meat hunted earlier this month near Naujaat recently tested positive for the trichinella parasite, the Government of Nunavut’s health department said Aug. 26.

In Arctic regions, trichinella — known as trichinosis or trichinellosis in an infected person — is caused by a microscopic parasite called trichinella nativa, sometimes found in the meat of wild mammals such as polar bears, wolves, foxes and, most commonly, walruses.

The disease can develop after eating uncooked meat from an infected animal.

Health officials said the walrus that tested positive for the parasite was harvested on Aug. 10.

Nunavummiut who have recently eaten any uncooked walrus meat should keep an eye out for the following symptoms of being infected with trichenella: stomach pain, muscle pain, diarrhea, swollen eyelids, sweating and weakness.

Anyone experiencing those symptoms should visit their local health centre, the GN said.

Walrus meat should be thoroughly cooked before it’s consumed to prevent the spread of the infection, health officials said, warning that freezing or fermenting the meat does not kill trichinella.

No deaths related to trichinella have been reported in the territory since 2008, when an Arctic Bay man died after eating fermented walrus meat infected with trichinella worms.

In 2015, wildlife harvested near three Nunavut communities tested positive for trichinella — walrus meat near Sanikiluaq and Rankin Inlet, and polar meat harvested near Clyde River.

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