The arctic form of Trichinella spiralis that infects terrestrial and marine mammals is of importance in public health because persons living in arctic regions still depend on wild animals for economic subsistence. In 1975, an extended common-source epidemic of trichinosis attributed to consumption of walrus meat involved 29 persons in Barrow, Alaska. Of those persons eating this meat, 64% became ill, and the rate of infection of persons eating meat prepared with little or no cooking was four times as great as that of persons eating cooked meat. One year later a second outbreak occurred when a family ate partially cooked meat from an infected walrus. Clinical illness differed little from the disease acquired in temperature climates; however, only 70% had a positive bentonite flocculation titer, whereas 96% had eosinophilia. These epidemics of trichinosis are the first reported in Alaska to be associated with the consumption of walrus meat.
From: Fortuine, Robert et al. 1993. The Health of the Inuit of North America: A Bibliography from the Earliest Times through 1990. University of Alaska Anchorage. Citation number 2110.