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What is the name of the disease that Black Bears some times carry? I thought it was here on an old post but I can't find it.

I got my fall bear tag yesterday at the DOW and the gentleman that helped me knew what I was talking about but did not know the name of the disease either and could not recommend any literature or web-sites.

All of the game processors in my area no longer process bears due to the risk of contaminating other meat in their facility.

What I'm after is precautions to take while field dressing, taking care of the meat/hide, cooking the meat, can the animal be tested for it like Chronic Wasting Disease and any other information that may be out there.

I have heard the disease is rare, but I would like to get some more information about what I may be up against.

-Turtle -
 

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Perhaps the most common communicable-to-man disease in wild bears is trichinosis. This is the same parasitic disease found in pigs and comes from eating raw, infected meat. Since bears eat almost anything, they are at risk for eating infected meat, which means that so are you if you eat the bear.

The disease is in the meat - there is nothing you can do when butchering or handling the meat to get rid of it, the animal suffered from the disease when it was alive. Just like pork, always cook bear meat thoroughly to kill the little critters living in the meat. Freezing does not kill the parasites.

Trichinosis is relatively rare in the US, with an average of ca. 20 cases reported per year. There are also other diseases found in bears, more than in many other wild game animals due to the dietary habits of bears. My guess is that this is the disease you were thinking about.

Read more about the contagen (Alaskan cases only) here: http://www.epi.hss.state.ak.us/bulletins/docs/b2000_18.htm
 

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Re: Trichinosis in Bears

Yes freezing can kill the worms but it might not work in wild game meat since the concentration of worms may be very high.
This is irresponsible information and could result in someone becoming infected. Read what the Alaska Department of Epidemiology has to say about killing the parasites - please don't make things up:

Trichinella nativa in Alaska bear and walrus meat is cold-resistant. Unlike pork, freezing arctic meat will NOT kill larval cysts. Bear or walrus meat is safe once the entire piece is completely cooked to a gray color. USDA recommends attaining an internal temperature of at least 160° F. Microwaving may not render meat safe as cooking may be uneven.
 

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CDC Guidelines.

Here are the direct guidelines from the CDC that I was fimilar with.



Trichinellosis
(TRICK-a-NELL-o-sis)

Download PDF version formatted for print
What is trichinellosis?
What are the symptoms of a trichinellosis infection?
How soon after infection will symptoms appear?
How does infection occur in humans and animals?
Am I at risk for trichinellosis?
Can I spread trichinellosis to others?
What should I do if I think I have trichinellosis?
How is trichinellosis infection diagnosed?
How is trichinellosis infection treated?
Is trichinellosis common in the United States?
How can I prevent trichinellosis?
What is trichinellosis?

Trichinellosis, also called trichinosis, is caused by eating raw or undercooked meat of animals infected with the larvae of a species of worm called Trichinella. Infection occurs commonly in certain wild carnivorous (meat-eating) animals but may also occur in domestic pigs.



What are the symptoms of a trichinellosis infection?

Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fever, and abdominal discomfort are the first symptoms of trichinellosis. Headaches, fevers, chills, cough, eye swelling, aching joints and muscle pains, itchy skin, diarrhea, or constipation follow the first symptoms. If the infection is heavy, patients may experience difficulty coordinating movements, and have heart and breathing problems. In severe cases, death can occur.

For mild to moderate infections, most symptoms subside within a few months. Fatigue, weakness, and diarrhea may last for months.



How soon after infection will symptoms appear?

Abdominal symptoms can occur 1-2 days after infection. Further symptoms usually start 2-8 weeks after eating contaminated meat. Symptoms may range from very mild to severe and relate to the number of infectious worms consumed in meat. Often, mild cases of trichinellosis are never specifically diagnosed and are assumed to be the flu or other common illnesses.



How does infection occur in humans and animals?
When a human or animal eats meat that contains infective Trichinella cysts, the acid in the stomach dissolves the hard covering of the cyst and releases the worms. The worms pass into the small intestine and, in 1-2 days, become mature. After mating, adult females lay eggs. Eggs develop into immature worms, travel through the arteries, and are transported to muscles. Within the muscles, the worms curl into a ball and encyst (become enclosed in a capsule). Infection occurs when these encysted worms are consumed in meat.



Am I at risk for trichinellosis?
If you eat raw or undercooked meats, particularly bear, pork, wild feline (such as a cougar), fox, dog, wolf, horse, seal, or walrus, you are at risk for trichinellosis.



Can I spread trichinellosis to others?
No. Infection can only occur by eating raw or undercooked meat containing Trichinella worms.



What should I do if I think I have trichinellosis?
See your health care provider who can order tests and treat symptoms of trichinellosis infection. If you have eaten raw or undercooked meat, you should tell your health care provider.



How is trichinellosis infection diagnosed?
A blood test or muscle biopsy can show if you have trichinellosis.



How is trichinellosis infection treated?
Several safe and effective prescription drugs are available to treat trichinellosis. Treatment should begin as soon as possible and the decision to treat is based upon symptoms, exposure to raw or undercooked meat, and laboratory test results.



Is trichinellosis common in the United States?
Infection was once very common and usually caused by ingestion of undercooked pork. However, infection is now relatively rare. During 1997-2001, an average of 12 cases per year were reported. The number of cases has decreased because of legislation prohibiting the feeding of raw-meat garbage to hogs, commercial and home freezing of pork, and the public awareness of the danger of eating raw or undercooked pork products. Cases are less commonly associated with pork products and more often associated with eating raw or undercooked wild game meats.



"How can I prevent trichinellosis?
Cook meat products until the juices run clear or to an internal temperature of 170 o F.
Freeze pork less than 6 inches thick for 20 days at 5 o F to kill any worms.
Cook wild game meat thoroughly. Freezing wild game meats, unlike freezing pork products, even for long periods of time, may not effectively kill all worms.
Cook all meat fed to pigs or other wild animals.
Do not allow hogs to eat uncooked carcasses of other animals, including rats, which may be infected with trichinellosis.
Clean meat grinders thoroughly if you prepare your own ground meats.
Curing (salting), drying, smoking, or microwaving meat does not consistently kill infective worms. "

I was not fimilar with tha Trichinella nativa genus that is native to Alaska. The most common genus is spiralis. I was refering to what the CDC has guidelines for. I did state that it might not work properly in wild game. Freezing can kill spiralis and this is the most common form seen in the lower 48 states.
 

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I was too harsh when I inferred you were "making things up", and I am sorry. However, there is no reference in the CDC guidelines about why wild game is not safe when frozen...

To make certain that readers don't make the wrong assumption, even T. spiralis will not be killed by short-term freezing. Your CDC report indicates that to kill the parasites in pork: "Freeze pork less than 6 inches thick for 20 days at 5 o F....freezing wild game meats, unlike freezing pork products, even for long periods of time, may not effectively kill all worms".

T. nativa is not just found in Alaska, it is comon in all arctic and sub-arctic regions in northern hemispheres and is well known in Canada. The CDC has reported cases in New York state as well. Does the the OP - who lives in Colorado - have to worry about it? I would, it's a nasty disease. :D
 

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when i was a kid, my uncle had a pig farm..he wound up with a mess of pigs with trichinosis......he showed it to me on a couple butched animals....you could see the meat was different it had scarring (looked like tumors) in the muscle fiber.....but do not trust seeing it....cuz it could easily be there if you dont see it. its not real common in pigs anymore.....in fact pork's pretty safe....but with bear....there is no real sure fire method of disease eradication and you do want to be safe......so be careful with handling, prep and cooking.
 

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Another thought on that: Not only do you have to cook the bear meat throughly, but you have to be real careful while dressing bears. Go to the Hunting In Alaska forum and read about the bad time Dave-In-The-Bush had when he got his hands infected while dressing out bears this spring. This is a common problem here in Alaska where we shoot lots of bears. I've seen where, and knowen some people who actually lost fingers and hands from infections like Dave got. One friend in Anchorage had to have his right hand amputated. So wear those rubber gloves, and be careful you don't cut yourself while dressing out your bear. If you do, I would at least check in with my doctor, and let him or her know in case action was required.
 

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I get infections from dressing bear. Never with deer or elk, only bear.
Usually it starts under my fingernails. They get hot, then painfull.
The first time I had a cut on my knuckle (middle finger) and it started to swell. I ignored it and my whole finger was like a sausage. Then it moved to the next finger and then to my pinkie. Then it moved across my palm.

My hand was swollen as if stung by nettles or a bee. The wife finally made me go to the doctor and he told me it was cellulitus (sp?) and that I was lucky. If I had it a few years prior I would have had to spend a week in the hospital, but that he could take care of it in 3 days. Got seven shots in the buttoks.
 
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