Sushi, Parasites Uptick Linked, Doctors Say

Sushi, Parasites Uptick Linked, Doctors Say

Researchers have linked the growing popularity of sushi with a parasitic stomach infection.

The report comes after a 32-year-old man in Lisbon was found to have parasite larvae on his gut lining after he suffered from severe upper gut pain, vomiting and fever for a week.

But it was only when the man revealed that he had recently eaten sushi that the doctors suspected he might have anisakiasis, then found worms in his gut.

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 the parasite was removed from his gut, the patient's symptoms immediately began to clear.

This inner vision revealed a swollen intestinal membrane with a firmly attached parasite, its end penetrating the stomach. The authors warn that "owing to changing food habits, anisakiasis is a growing disease in Western countries", and caution anybody "with a history of ingestion of raw or uncooked fish" to maybe rethink that part of their diet.

"Gastrointestinal symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and complications like digestive bleeding, bowel obstruction, perforation and peritonitis can also arise".

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Most cases of anisakiasis have been reported in Japan, according to the report, where sushi originates from.

"Patients can have allergic symptoms like angioedema, urticarial and anaphylaxis", they wrote.

A spokesperson from the the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said that an increase in raw seafood being transported across Japan rather than being transported in a frozen state, was likely the cause of the spike in cases of anisakis infection.

Humans become when infected when they ingest raw meat or fish containing worm larvae.

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.

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

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