Experts are warning people about the hazards of eating sushi after finding a mass of writhing worms inside a person’s gut.
A 32-year-old man from Portugal was in severe pain for a week after eating raw sushi from a Japanese restaurant, The Telegraph reported.
In order to determine what was wrong with the man, doctors used an endoscope. The long tube with a camera attached to it showed that he was infected by a deadly parasitic worm, with several worms digging into his gut lining.
Raw fish can sometimes harbor small worms that tend to lodge into the human gut when eaten. The condition is commonly referred to as anisakiasis, and can cause severe stomach ache, vomiting, and fever.
Doctors extracted the worms out the man’s body by using a specially designed retrieval net, after which his symptoms almost immediately disappeared.
The Lisbon doctors who treated him have now issued a stern warning to other doctors to check for the condition when patients say they are in pain, vomit, have nausea or other complications like bowel obstruction and bleeding, especially if they have eaten sushi recently.
“Owing to changes in food habits, anisakiasis is a growing disease in Western countries, which should be suspected in patients with a history of ingestion of raw or uncooked fish,” Dr. Joana Carmo, a gastroenterologist, wrote in a case report. “Patients can have allergic symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and complications like digestive bleeding, bowel obstruction, perforation and peritonitis can also arise.”
While people may find sushi to be a nutritious, healthy, low-calorie meal, research has pointed at the opposite.
One study in particular, found that regular sushi eaters may be at an increased risk of heart disease, decreased cognitive performance and other issues with the nervous system and brain development.
“The effects of methylmercury exposure in humans as a result of excessive fish consumption can include neurodevelopmental deficits, poorer cognitive performance and increased rates of cardiovascular disease,” stated the Journal of Risk Research.
The annual sushi industry earnings are estimated at $2,250,000,000, while its net revenue in the United Kingdom is at $87 million.
Anisakiasis cases are few in Western countries due to the fact that most fish is cooked, which kills the worms. On the other hand, the rise of sushi has brought in a surge of hospital cases all over Europe.
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