Hello, here's a nightmare: A man got a five-foot tapeworm from eating sushi
During a January 8th edition of the podcast This Won’t Hurt a Bit, Dr. Kenny Banh told the story of a Fresno man he recently treated who came to the emergency room with a five-and-a-half-foot tapeworm wrapped around a roll of toilet paper. The man came to the ER complaining of bloody diarrhea and then held out a brown paper bag to Dr. Banh.
“I take out a toilet paper roll…and wrapped around it of course is what looks like this giant, long tapeworm,” Bahn revealed on the podcast.
The guy said he went to the bathroom and the tapeworm started to wriggle out of him. The patient reportedly told Bahn that he thought “there was a piece of intestine hanging out of me,” but was relieved when the worm started to move because he realized he had probably contracted a tapeworm and wasn’t dying.
The guy reportedly told the doctor that he eats raw salmon “almost every day.” And now we’re terrified to consume raw salmon ever again.
Warning: The image of the tapeworm is…unsettling.
Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s monthly journal claimed that one variety of pink salmon caught in Alaska had been found to be infected by a tapeworm that was thought to exist only in fish in Asian countries. Flash-frozen salmon kills any worms present in the meat, but because this specific batch of “wild caught” salmon is iced and delivered fresh to restaurants, it passed along the parasite. According to Alaska Seafood, only six percent of wild Alaska salmon is released fresh from Alaska, the majority is frozen, and per the FDA, all raw seafood should be previously frozen. Also, the specific pink salmon that was studied (and potentially infected the man) was not commercially harvested. So really, this poor guy got a very specific batch of salmon that slipped through all the proper salmon harvesting guidelines.
If you are infected with a tapeworm, the cure is the same as the “worm medicine” given to dogs, but if the thought of getting a worm freaks you out, maybe just chill on eating raw salmon for a bit.