Eight-foot-long tapeworm found living inside girl after she ate contaminated sushi

A doctor has warned against eating raw fish

Rachel Hosie
Thursday 15 June 2017 10:23 BST

Sushi is divisive - many people love it, some hate it. But the experience of one young girl may be enough to put you off a little.

An eight-year-old girl from Taiwan had to have an 8’6” (2.6 metre) long tapeworm removed from her body after eating contaminated sashimi.

It was reportedly alive and had been inside her for a month.

A sushi lover, the girl ate the raw fish dish at a restaurant in Taipei.

However she started complaining of itchiness in her rectum, the Mail Online reports.

Doctors removed the tapeworm and gave her drugs, and she is now recovering.

Tapeworm infections are rare in the UK but fairly common in other parts of the world. They are typically only a few centimetres in length, but in extreme circumstances can grow to several metres long.

According to Wang Zhijian, a paediatrician from the hospital, the girl had contracted a type of tapeworm called diphyllobothrium latum.

It’s the largest human tapeworm and is also sometimes referred to as a fish or broad tapeworm.

People often contract it after eating raw, contaminated fish, beef or pork, so after the girl’s family told doctors she loved eating sushi - and sashimi in particular - they said that could’ve been what caused it.

If fish is infected with the worm in its larvae stage and then eaten raw, the tapeworm can then pass into a human when ingested.

Tapeworms then grow inside the intestine, often going undetected for months and infecting other bodyparts, which can be very dangerous.

According to the NHS, symptoms of tapeworms include tummy pain, diarrhoea, sickness and vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Dr He Shengyuan, who’s in charge of mass education at the hospital, said the tapeworm had probably lived inside the girl for over a month.

He also explained that it was alive and moving in the girl’s rectum when it was removed by doctors.

Furthermore, Dr He advised against the consumption of raw food.

Of course, the majority of people who eat sushi are fine, but it’s important to make sure yours is from a reputable source.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in