Death In The Pot

     A Chapter On Pork

     Ederseben, one of the prettiest towns in Germany, is now filled with mourning and desolation. During a month previous to the 9th of Dec., death had been carrying off the adult inhabitants rapidly, until upwards of one hundred had given up the ghost, after unexampled sufferings. There was hardly a house in the village that did not number a victim, and upwards of three hundred, at the date above mentioned, were awaiting death, which they knew to be inevitable-a prey to fearful sufferings. Physicians say that the victims of this terrible plague are eaten up alive by a legion of worms hardly so thick as a human hair, that have worked their way into the tissue of their flesh, their muscles and their nerves. From seventy to eighty of the inhabitants, who at the outset of the epidemic had felt unwell, had taken to flight, but they had fallen down on the roads and died without relief. The children seem to enjoy an immunity from the disease, none having fallen victims to it up to the latest accounts.  

     The epidemic, Dr. Pouchet proceeds to say, was caused by the ravages of the worm called trichine, whence the epidemic has received the name of trichinosis. The trichine is one of the entozoa of the pig, and it is capable of being transplanted into and thriving in the human body. In Germany, pork-flesh, imperfectly cured and smoked in the shape of ham and German sausage, is a staple article of food, and from the human stomach, where they penetrate with the ham and saucisson, dear to Germanic palates, the larva of these entozoa pass into the blood, their size being so microscopic as to enable them to penetrate even into the minutest veins; they lodge in the nerves in the muscular and cellular tissues, and feed upon those parts of the human organization, causing fearful agony and great constitutional disturbance, which ends in death.  

     No cure has been as yet discovered, but the preventive process is obvious. To abstain from such preparations of pork as are eaten in a semicrude state is a sure means of avoiding "trichinosis." But to eat half smoked saucisson and raw ham, cut in thin slices, is as general a custom in Germany as smoking or beer-drinking. Hence the rapid propagation of the disease as a simple slice of ham or German sausage may contain larva of millions of these parasites.-Sab. Recorder. 


     One case of the epidemic called Trichina, which has recently excited so much alarm in Berlin, Prussia, has appeared in Detroit, Mich., and proved fatal. The victim was a young lady, a German, who was taken ill some time since, and called Dr. Herman Keger to attend her. Dr. K. was unable at first to tell the precise nature of the disease, but finally became convinced that it was of the same nature as the Trichina, which has been known for some years in Germany, and which arises from the eating of diseased pork. The Trichina Spiralis is a small microscopic worm or animalcula, which was first observed by the distinguished anatomist, Richard Owen, in 1835, and is found in the muscles and intestines of various animals especially pigs and rabbits, in such enormous quantities that in a single ounce of pork 100,000 of these animalcula have been found. 

     By partaking of the meat infected with them, they are transferred to the human body, causing intense suffering, followed in many cases by a painful death. Dr. K. did his utmost to relieve the intense sufferings of his patient, but his efforts to save her life were unavailing, and she died about a week ago. After her death a post mortem examination was held, which has resulted in proving beyond a doubt that her disease was Trichina. A small portion of flesh, about the size of a pin head, was examined through a microscope, and found to contain large numbers of animalcula, wound round and imbedded in the fibres of the muscles, exactly similar in appearance to the trichina spiralis. This, we believe, is the only case of this disease that has ever been known in this country. Dr. Keger states that these animalcula are not destroyed by smoking, or, as a general thing, by frying pork, but hard and long boiling is necessary to effectually destroy them.-Detroit Tribune.

February 27, 1866 UrSe, ARSH 99.5


Bro. White: I send you the following lines, taken from the "Sterling Gazette," (my County paper). Let all my brethren take warning lest like as it was in the days of old, you find "death in the pot."  

Ivory Colcord. 

     "On Saturday last, a man by the name of Eggert, living in Palmyra township, sold a dressed hog to a man living in the Shabbona House. {February 27, 1866 UrSe, 

     A piece of the meat coming incidentally under the eye of Dr. H. J. Detmers, a veterinary surgeon, he at once detected in the muscles an innumerable number of insects, of the genus entozoa, of which the tape worm is a species, and which has proved fatal in thousands of instances in Europe and America. The man Eggert was not satisfied to lose his pork, but sold it at John Scott's meat market on Monday, for generable distribution. Our citizens are indebted to the Doctor for again detecting the villainy, and stopping the sale of the meat. Dr. N. W. Abbott, and other physicians, on examining the insect through a microscope, pronounced it the same from which many deaths occurred in Western New York last season. It passes from the stomach to the muscles, when, from its rapid natural increase, the unsuspecting victim of accident, or villainy like that of Eggert, is soon beyond the reach of medical skill. It is said that the insect is as often communicated to the system through the eating of hams, shoulders and sausage as in any other way. Whether cooking destroys the vitality of the insect does not appear to be explained in medical works."-Dixon Telegraph.

February 27, 1866 UrSe, ARSH 99.8