South Dakota Family Contracts Brain Worms After Eating Undercooked Bear Meat
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South Dakota Family Contracts Brain Worms After Eating Undercooked Bear Meat

Be warned this story gave me the creepy crawlies. I'm not a big fan of worms, much less the thought of worms in my brain. However, one South Dakota family contracted parasitic brain worms after eating undercooked bear meat.

Nine members of the family members gathered together in South Dakota in 2022. While there, they ate a meal of black bear meat and grilled vegetables. Afterwards, they departed going their separate ways across Arizona, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Within a week, six of the family members began experiencing severe symptoms. They had muscle aches as well as a fever and vomiting. It turns out they had parasitic worms called trichinella. This gave them the parasitic disease trichinellosis.

Unfortunately, they ate undercooked bear meat. The family couldn't tell if the bear meat was done or not due to the dark color of the meat. That led to them ingesting it rare. They realized it was undercooked, and cooked it more thoroughly. The damage was done though. One of the family originally harvested the bear meat in Canada in May of that year.

Bear Meat Makes Family Sick

Their family reunion led to a nasty illness. One family member, 29-year-old, sought treatment after eating the bear meat. He had a fever and puffy eyes, having to go to the the hospital multiple times. He ended up hospitalized twice. Eventually, doctors realized he had parasitic worms and treated him with albendazole. It kills parasitic worms. 

Unfortunately, a 12-year-old girl also ate the meat and soon experienced similar symptoms. In total, four other family members also developed similar symptoms. Two had only eaten the vegetables, but the vegetables had been cooked with the bear meat. Tests determined the meat tested positive for the larvae.

The best way to prevent brain worms is to cook your meat thoroughly. This will kill the parasites and prevent it from taking root inside of you. Bear meat is popular as an exotic food item, but there are some pit falls when it comes to the meat. You need to make sure you cook it thoroughly. Trichinellosis can range from mild to severe. It can even result in death. Trichinellosis is often caused by undercooked meat, especially pork. So it's best to make sure that your meat, especially bear meat, is properly cooked. As for the ultimate fates of the family, I don't know, but it sounds like they got proper treatment.