A Fresno, California man who walked into a hospital complaining of bloody diarrhea discovered that he had been hosting a 5-foot Japanese salmon tapeworm.
The man, who had been experiencing bloody diarrhea, pulled the tapeworm from his rectum, wrapped it around an empty toilet paper roll and brought it to the ED.
Doctor Kenny Banh recounted the gruesome story as a guest on a recent episode of "This Won't Hurt A Bit", a medical podcast that dissects odd or unusual health cases with experts. The report says the tapeworm was likely growing in the man's body for six months. Banh said given the fact that the man had not recently traveled or been drinking questionable water - and the fact that he said he ate sushi or sashimi nearly daily - he is "almost positive" that the self-assessment is correct.
Raw fish is a common cause of tapeworms. It turned out to be a tapeworm that measured over five feet, according to Dr. Kenny Bahn on the "This Won't Hurt A Bit" podcast. Bahn asked the man, who replied, "Yes".
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study past year pointing out that wild-caught salmon caught off the coast of Alaska may contain tapeworm.
The man told Banh about his final trip to the bathroom before deciding it was time to head to the hospital. Sushi is raw and most sushi does not use frozen fish.
The patient first wondered what was wrong when he experienced abdominal pain and cramping.
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The California resident said he won't be eating salmon anytime soon.
You can also prevent worm infections by making sure you cook your meat to safe temperatures.
While there are other cases of tapeworm in the United States, those cases are primarily a different genus of tapeworm found in pork and beef.
Often when you think of the parasite risk with raw sushi, you often think of the roundworm, Anisakis sp.
"You have to be aware", he said, explaining that the concern is not with the sushi or sashimi as such but with whether it is properly prepared.