Nunavut walrus tests positive for trichinella
Parasite can only be killed by cooking wild meat, the GN says
Health officials in Nunavut are warning residents of Sanikiluaq that a walrus harvested near the Belcher Island community has tested positive for trichinella.
Trichinella is a parasite that can be present in some wildlife, particularly walrus and polar bears, and can be transmitted to humans who consume those animals’ meat uncooked.
Once consumed, humans can contract an infection called trichinosis, which can be fatal if untreated.
Symptoms of the disease appear a few days after eating the meat, and include stomach pain, muscle pain, diarrhea, swollen eyelids, sweating and weakness.
The Government of Nunavut’s Department of Health advises any Nunavummiut who’ve eaten uncooked walrus meat recently and experience those symptoms to visit their local health centre.
“Before eating walrus that someone else caught, ask if it was tested,” the department said in a Sept. 27 release.
“Freezing or fermenting meat will not kill trichinella; it can only be killed by cooking.”
Most of the territory’s meat is sent for testing in Iqaluit, at the Nunavut Research Centre, where it’s done free of charge.
Harvesters should contact their local conservation officer for more information on testing walrus or polar beat meat.