SEVENTEEN people in Ciudad Real province and Madrid were taken ill with trichinosis after eating infected pork.
All were relatives or friends of a family that raised and clandestinely slaughtered a pig in Retuerta del Bullaque (population 1,000) in Ciudad Real.
“They didn’t comply with regulations,” said Castilla-La Mancha’s Director General for Public Health.
The family needed permission to kill the animal outside a slaughterhouse and a vet should first have taken samples to ensure that the pig was free of trichinosis.
The entire process costs around €30 but in villages where the matanza (slaughtering) is still a custom this formality is often overlooked to save money and avoid paperwork.
The parasitic infection caused diarrhoea, nausea, stomach cramps, muscle pain and fever but only one person who ate chorizos and sausages made from the infected animal required hospital treatment.
The remainder, aged between 11 and 67, recovered at home following anti-parasitic treatment to eliminate roundworms that can measure up to four millimetres.
“Trichinosis also causes very serious neurological complications and heart conditions but this is unlikely these days as patients respond well to treatment,” explained infectious diseases expert, Dr Manuel Linares.
This was the worst trichinosis outbreak since 2012 although there are usually one or two cases each year, generally in hunters who have eaten wild boar.