Trichinellosis in humans is a disease that is caused by eating inadequately cooked pork or other meats containing the nematode parasite Trichinella spiralis. This parasite has long been associated with swine and pork, and has always been considered the primary source of human infection. Trichinella has a broad range of hosts. Research has demonstrated the organismís ability to infect almost all warm-blooded animals. Information gathered through research on the life cycle of Trichinella demonstrates how Trichinella are transmitted to pigs and humans, and the efforts to control this parasite can be found in the article "Swine Trichinellosis: Diagnosis and Control" by H. R. Gamble and K.D. Murrell; Agriculture Practice, Volume 8: PP 12-15 (1987).
While swine have been the main source of trichinellosis in humans, most animals can become infected. The likelihood of infection is related to how the animal is potentially exposed. In that Trichinella has a direct life cycle, that of being passed from one host to another by the ingestion of infected muscle tissue, an animal has to consume infected tissue to become infected. For swine, the source of the infected tissue can be varied. It can include infected rodents, other small mammals, cannibalism of dead or injured pigs, or garbage containing uncooked meat scraps. Each of these sources has been implicated in swine infections and could serve as sources of infection to other animals.