From nigiri to temaki, sushi has boomed in popularity in the west, but now doctors are warning of a less appetising trend: a rise in parasitic infections.
A team of doctors from Portugal raised concerns after a 32-year old man was admitted to hospital complaining of pain in his abdomen just below his ribs, vomiting and had a slight fever, all of which had lasted for a week.
An endoscopy soon revealed the culprit: the larvae of a type of parasitic worm from the genus Anisakis. The doctors note that the condition, known as anisakiasis, is caused by eating undercooked or raw fish or seafood that has been contaminated: indeed, questioning of the patient revealed that he had recently eaten sushi.
After the larva was removed the man rapidly recovered, say the medics.
Under European food hygiene legislation fish that is to be eaten raw
should be frozen before it is sold to consumers to ensure any parasites
have been killed.
Two views of the parasite, seen here firmly attached to
an area of the patient’s upper gastrointestinal tract. Photograph: Carmo
et al/BMJ case reports