Eating raw fish comes with a risk of being infected with parasites and one Fresno, Calif., man found out the hard way. After giving what he thought was a piece of his intestines a tug, the man ended up pulling a 5-foot, 6-inch tapeworm out of his body. Dr. Kenny Bahn of Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center shared the shocking discovery on his podcast, This Won’t Hurt A Bit.
“He grabs it, and pulls on it, and it keeps coming out,” Dr. Bahn said. The patient then picked it up, “looks at it, and what does it do? It starts moving.”
Dr. Bahn’s patient had been experiencing bloody diarrhea and told him that he needed treatment for tapeworms. The good doctor was skeptical because many of his patients misdiagnose their symptoms. But this patient had wrapped the worm around a cardboard toilet paper tube, dropped it in a plastic shopping bag, and brought it with him to the doctor’s office. He sent the man straight to the emergency room.
Back in 2007, Dr. Oz introduced Oprah’s audience to the “mother of all parasites.” He said that the tapeworm can grow to be up to 30 feet long and can live inside the human body for 20 years. It resembles a stretched out which is the parasite’s mouth.
While there are several varieties of tapeworms which are found alive in under cooked or raw meat like beef, Dr. Bahn’s patient admitted to eating sushi, specifically one called raw salmon sashimi, pretty much everyday. According to an article published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the fish tapeworm is called Diphyllobothrium. This parasite can be transmitted in marinated and smoked fish as well.
Sometimes the symptoms of tapeworm infections suggest other gastrointestinal ailments. A stool test or passing segments of the tapeworm might be the only way to get an accurate diagnosis. But in addition patients can experience fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and constipation.
Dr. Bahn’s patient was treated with a single dose of a de-worming medication which is used on all human and animal patients. Wonder if the man will kick the sushi habit now?