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Sarcocystosis in Malaysia (Tioman Island)

24 Oct 2012

Reports have been received of travellers with a muscular Sarcocystis-like illness after visiting Tioman Island, Malaysia in 2011-2012.

To date, 60 cases have been identified in this outbreak. Sarcocystis is a zoonotic disease, rare in humans, so this represents a major outbreak. Humans acquire the disease by eating undercooked meat containing viable sarcocysts or by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with animal faeces.

Patients may present with fever and muscle pain while some have also experienced arthralgia, muscle weakness, headache, cough, and diarrhoea.

Advice for Travellers

  • Ensure that all meat is very well cooked. Freezing meat to ≤ -5C also kills cysts.
  • Strict food and water hygiene methods should be adhered to. Cysts can be destroyed by boiling.