Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Parasitic live worms found inside stomach of sushi guzzler

Parasitic live worms found inside stomach of sushi guzzler

Doctors have issued a serious warning about sushi's recent spike in popularity after a man in Lisbon, Portugal, was violently sickened by the Japanese delicacy.

In one case, doctors found parasite larvae in the gut lining of a 32-year-old man who had recently eaten sushi.

When questioned by medical staff, the patient revealed that he had recently eaten sushi, which led physicians to believe he may have a disease called anisakiasis.

Sushi-lovers are being warned about the dangers of parasites from eating raw and undercooked fish.

Indeed, as the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes, "The treatment for anisakiasis may require removal of the worm from the body by endoscopy or surgery".

After they removed the larvae with a net, the man's symptoms soon cleared up.

A report from the British Medical Journal has highlighted the trend caused by eating fish that is either raw or undercooked.

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The condition is caused by the consumption of contaminated seafood that is either raw or undercooked, the symptoms of which contain "abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting", the report says.

The researchers in that case said at the time that raw fish prepared at home can contain anisakis and other risky parasites because the fish may not have been frozen beforehand - a process typically rendered in sushi restaurants that kills the larvae.

When doctors put an endoscope, a long tube with a camera, down his throat they found a mass of writhing white larvae burrowing into his gut lining.

Two views of the parasite, seen here firmly attached to an area of the patient's upper gastrointestinal tract. Laboratory analysis showed that the larva belonged to the anisakis species.

According to the authors of the study, "most of the [anisakiasis] cases were described in Japan due to food habits; however, it has been increasingly recognised in Western countries".

Raw fish can at times carry tiny worms that can lodge into a human gut when eaten.

"For example, freezing fish to the appropriate temperature and for the appropriate duration can kill parasites", Rowland said.

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