Saturday, March 3, 2012

Answer to Case 198

Answer: Muscle (Meat) and associated connective tissue; no parasite identified

While the long tan-white cylindrical object could potentially be mistaken for a worm, its incredibly hard nature, blunt ends and a ragged external surface is not consistent with this diagnosis and more consistent with connective tissue. The associated H&E stained section closely resembles a tendon, thus supporting the diagnosis.

Understandably, this patient was concerned with acquiring a parasite since she heard that pork potentially contained parasites. However, the more 'common' parasites found in pork worldwide are rarely encountered in the United States due to good hygienic processes and measures enforced by the USDA. These pork parasites include Taenia solium cysticerce (larvae) which are small, white-oval structures, approximately the size and shape of the head of a match, and the microscopic larvae of Trichinella spp.; neither parasite would have this gross or microscopic appearance.

Thank you everyone for the comments. They made me smile. I do indeed have a fascinating job.

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