Dr. Kenny Banh from the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, California, has seen a lot of remarkable things in the emergency room. But one day when a patient has walked in with a tapeworm that had over 5 feet in length this past August, it has been enough to make Banh stop in his tracks!
Banh described in an interview:
“I have seen tapeworms and intestinal infections. For me, that’s the largest I’ve seen. The one that is the Guinness World Record is 30-feet-long. The truth is, intestinal parasites are common in impoverished, third-world countries where they don’t have a lot of clean drinking water. It’s super-less common in America.”
So where did the massive tapeworm inside his body came from? Banh’s patient has been a self-professed “sushi devotee”, so it comes as no surprise to the doctor that he would pick up this parasite from his food. The patient had passed the tapeworm at home, and understandably alarmed, wrapped it around a toilet paper roll and brought it to the emergency room to be inspected. Measuring in at 5 foot 6, the tapeworm was actually as tall as Dr. Banh!
“It’s pretty hard because sushi is actually flash frozen in the U.S. That actually kills off the (tapeworm) larvae. So the biggest thing is just be aware of the food-handling of the restaurant you’re eating in. It doesn’t matter if it’s sushi, vegetables, cooked meat. All those things have risks. The proper handling is the main thing. I don’t know that I’d eat sushi out of a food truck, for example.” Banh said.
Am I At Risk of Tapeworms If I Eat Fish?
According to a study that has been published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, at about twenty million people have been in belief to have tapeworms. Do you know what a tapeworm is? If you do know, you hopefully have never had to personally experience one. But it looks like you will have to be more careful the next time you are going to buy salmon.
Scientists have confirmed that the Diphyllobothrium latum – also known as the Japanese broad tapeworm – has made its way into fish in America by way of the Asian Pacific. This 32-year old Portuguese man who landed in the hospital after a sushi dinner learned this the hard way.
The Japanese Broad Tapeworm in Sushi
After enjoying a sushi dinner, as a lot of us in North America like to do, a 32-year old Portuguese man has had to rush to the emergency room because he has had some dangerous stomach and intestine pain, vomiting, and a fever, according to a new 2017 case study.
The doctors performed an endoscope when they found out he had eaten sushi for dinner. After looking into his stomach with the camera, sure enough they discovered larvae from the Anisakis fish parasite embedded into his swollen and inflamed stomach lining. Once the larvae were removed using a special net, the man’s symptoms went away.
Tapeworm Symptoms and Signs of Infection
While most infections show or produce no symptoms, there are some to keep an eye out for in yourself or others in severe cases.
- Abdominal discomfort
- Weight loss
- Vitamin B12 deficiency (potential for anemia)
- Intestinal obstruction
- Gall bladder disease