Sushi lovers at risk of parasites in fish

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Doctors have issued a serious warning about sushi's recent spike in popularity after a man in Lisbon, Portugal, was violently sickened by the Japanese delicacy. "After a careful interview, he revealed that he recently ate sushi".

Anisakiasis is known to occur when infected larvae are ingested from undercooked or raw fish or squid.

But it was only after the man revealed he had recently eaten sushi that doctors suspected he might have anisakiasis, which is caused by eating raw or undercooked fish/seafood infected with nematode parasites of the species Anisakis which invade the stomach wall or intestine of humans.

The man was admitted to the hospital after suffering severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever for a week after eating a sushi meal.

The researchers in that case said at the time that raw fish prepared at home can contain anisakis and other risky parasites because the fish may not have been frozen beforehand - a process typically rendered in sushi restaurants that kills the larvae.

The man's condition immediately improved after the doctors found the larvae during an endoscopy and removed it.

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A parasite firmly attached to an area of swollen and hyperaemic mucosa, with its end penetrating gastric mucosa, was seen on the gastric body in an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Medics removed a parasitic worm from his stomach and his symptoms resolved instantly.

While most cases of anisakiasis to date had been reported in Japan, where a raw fish diet is common, researchers have noted a rise in such cases in more countries.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and complications such as digestive bleeding and bowel obstruction and perforation. Because this parasite is found in fish, anyone who eats raw or undercooked fish is at risk of contracting the parasite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Freezing will kill these parasites.

Seafood, especially fish, is considered the leanest form of protein and what better than to eat fish in its raw form?

"This will ensure that any undetected Anisakis larvae are killed".

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