Chinese sushi-lover infected with multiple tapeworms after eating raw fish delicacy

The man's entire body was infected by the parasite

Antonia Molloy
Thursday 25 September 2014 15:38
Raw fish can be contaminated by tapeworm larvae
Raw fish can be contaminated by tapeworm larvae

If you’re thinking about tucking into a plate of sushi for lunch, this story could have your reaching for the cheese sandwich instead.

A Chinese man was left riddled with tapeworms after enjoying too much sashimi – a Japanese delicacy consisting of slices of raw meat or fish.

The man went to his doctor in eastern China’s Guangdong province complaining of a stomach ache and itchy skin, the Daily Mail reported.

A series of X-Rays taken at the Guangzhou No. 8 People's Hospital revealed that his entire body had been infected by the parasite.

Tapeworms are able to live inside a person’s small intestine and can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked freshwater fish, such as salmon, which has been contaminated by cysts containing diphyllobothrium larvae.

An example of an tapeworm

Complications can arise when these cysts settle outside of the intestines, including in the liver and brain, leading to a condition called cysticercosis. The cysts can then become infected by bacteria; if they burst this can result in a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Writing in the journal Canadian Family Physician, Nancy Craig said that freezing fish before it is served ensures that any larvae present are killed.

She added that although cases of tapeworm have decreased in previously endemic areas due to improvements in sewage treatment processes, there have been more reported cases in parts of the developed world, "presumably owing to increased consumption of raw fish".

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