Residents cautioned after walrus in Coral Harbour tests positive for trichinella

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A file image of a walrus pictured near Kinngait. People in Coral Harbour, Nunavut, are being cautioned to get their walrus meat tested after a walrus tested positive for trichinella in late August. (Submitted by Iqaluk Toonoo - image credit)
A file image of a walrus pictured near Kinngait. People in Coral Harbour, Nunavut, are being cautioned to get their walrus meat tested after a walrus tested positive for trichinella in late August. (Submitted by Iqaluk Toonoo - image credit)

Residents of Coral Harbour, Nunavut, are being warned that a walrus has recently tested positive for trichinella. If meat is infected and eaten raw, it could cause people and animals to get sick.

Nunavut's Department of Health said the walrus tested positive on Aug. 21, in a news release Tuesday.

Those who have have eaten any uncooked walrus recently, and have experienced stomach pain, muscle pain, diarrhea, swollen eyelids, sweating and weakness, might be experiencing trichinosis.

People who have any of these symptoms should let their health care provider know that uncooked walrus was eaten, the release said.

Anyone who harvests walrus should consider getting it tested before eating it. People who have received walrus from someone else should ask if it has been tested.

Freezing or fermenting meat will not kill trichinella, it can only be killed by cooking. Do not feed infected meat to animals as they can also get sick, the release said.

For questions or for those looking to learn more on walrus testing, contact Gary Nelson, environmental health officer, by e-mail at gnelson@gov.nu.ca or by calling 867-645-6660.

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