Trichinosis in Arctic Animals

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IN the spring of 1947 a series of outbreaks of a disease, which at first was considered to be a paratyphoid fever, spread among the native population along the coast of north-western Greenland, particularly in the settlements around Disko Bay. More than three hundred cases with thirty-three deaths occurred. The main clinical symptoms were exanthema, generalized œdema, fever, muscular pain, gastro-intestinal symptoms and myocarditis. A special investigation was made by the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, and it was proved that the disease was, in fact, trichinosis1,2. The diagnosis was verified by the positive reaction of the sera to microscopic precipitin tests with living larvæ of Trichinella spiralis3,4, by demonstration of eosinophilia in the blood picture, by positive skin tests with trichina antigen, and, finally, by the finding of the parasites in the musculature of a patient who had succumbed to the infection. Most of the cases were apparently due to the consumption of walrus meat. Thus, at the settlement of Sukkertoppen, where only two cases occurred, both patients had eaten walrus meat, which had been sent to them from Holsteinsborg, which was one of the centres of the epidemic.

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    Thorborg, N. B., Tulinius, Sv., and Roth, H., Ugeskr. Læger, 110, 595 (1948).

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    Thorborg, N. B., Tulinius, Sv., and Roth, H., Acta Path, et Microbiol. Scand., 25, 778 (1948).

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    Roth, H., Nature, 155, 758 (1945).

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    Roth, H., Acta Med. Scand., 126, 17 (1946).

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    Parnell, I. W., Canad. Field-Naturalist, 48, 111 (1934).

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    Leiper, R. T., Proc. Zool Soc. London, 108 (Ser. C.), 13 (1938).

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ROTH, H. Trichinosis in Arctic Animals. Nature 163, 805–806 (1949) doi:10.1038/163805b0

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