Man Contracts Gut Parasite After Eating Sushi

Sushi is often seen as a heathy lunch alternative, but doctors have warned that it may be causing parasitic infections, known as anisakiasis.

Portuguese medics gave the example of a "previously healthy" 32-year-old man, who was admitted to hospital after suffering severe pain, vomiting and low-grade fever for a week.

But it was only when the man revealed he had recently eaten sushi that doctors suspected he might have Anisakiasis.

Raw fish can carry parasitic worms, which are able to invade the stomach wall or intestines of humans.

The larva was removed and the patient's symptoms improved immediately, according to the BMJ report.

Doctors in Portugal have published a report in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, warning about the growing hazard of eating raw or undercooked fish after treating a 32-year-old man who was infected by a parasite after eating sushi.

Doctors proceeded to perform an endoscopy on the man, and inserted a long tube with a camera into the stomach.

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This inner vision revealed a swollen intestinal membrane with a firmly attached parasite, its end penetrating the stomach.

The BMJ article said most cases described in the medical literature were from Japan because of the popularity of seafood.

"If you do choose to make your own sushi from fish at home, ensure you follow a reputable recipe", the Food Standard Agency stated, per The Guardian.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and complications such as digestive bleeding and bowel obstruction and perforation. These parasites may cause health problems in people if they eat raw or undercooked fish infected with their larvae.

They noted that most cases of Anisakiasis to date have been reported in Japan, but warned "it has been increasingly recognised in Western countries". The FDA says freezing fish can kill parasites, too.

According to the CDC, some people will experience a tingling sensation after or while eating raw or undercooked fish or squid, which could actually be the parasite moving in the mouth or throat.

"Properly trained sushi chefs can detect anisakis larvae", Carmo said.

  • Ismael Montgomery