Scientists warn of parasite that could be in your sushi


Raw fish lovers were hit with a wave of worry recently when a report revealed that anisakiasis, an illness caused by eating parasite-spoiled seafood, is on the rise in Western countries.

A report from BMJ Case Reports highlights a case study, where a man in his 30's who was previously healthy developed severe pain in his stomach. Further exams showed a parasite attached to his intestine with the end of it extending into the man's stomach.

But, new estimates suggest there are several thousand cases now in Spain.

"Since undercooked fish is becoming more common, there have been cases seen in the United States, Europe, South America, and other areas of the world".

Scholars on the topic suggest the illness in general is under-estimated and under-diagnosed.

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If by chance someone does encounter a parasite while eating raw fish, some can experience a tingling sensation after or while eating the undercooked fish or squid.

Anisakiasis can not be transmitted from one person to another.

Cooking or freezing the seafood can also kill parasitic worms. Sometimes, vomiting expels the worm. "This is actually the worm moving in the mouth or throat", the centre's site reads. Endoscopy showed a parasite firmly hitched in the upper gastrointestinal tract, removal of which resolved the condition in the patient nearly immediately.

Along with avoiding raw fish, the CDC recommends that seafood be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145° F (about 63° C).

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