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Undercooked Seafood May Contain Live Parasites, Warn Scientists

18 May 2017

"Anyone who eats undercooked or raw fish is at risk" for Anisakiasis, which is caused by consumption of contaminated raw or undercooked seafood, the CDC's website says.

The increase is notable in Western countries where eating sushi and other raw or uncooked fish is more popular now.

A study by BMJ Case Reports cites a 32-year-old man who developed severe symptoms that immediately disappeared once the parasite in his stomach was surgically removed. A week later, he was in the hospital. This inner vision revealed a swollen intestinal membrane with a firmly attached parasite, its end penetrating the stomach.

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During an interview, the man said he had recently eaten sushi. The examination report confirmed that the patient had anisakiasis, which is also referred as herring worm disease, commonly caused by the in-take of undercooked fish.

But, new estimates suggest there are several thousand cases now in Spain.

Another study in Spain found that almost 56% of blue whiting fish sold in five chain supermarkets showed infestation, Carmo said. These people can often extract the worm manually from their mouth or cough up the worm and prevent infection.

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Anisakiasis is when the parasites invade the stomach wall or intestine of humans.

"It's easy to treat with an antiparasitic to kill the parasite", says Chattoo. Seafood should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and fish kept for seven days should be frozen to -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Properly trained sushi chefs can detect anisakis larvae", Carmo said.

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Undercooked Seafood May Contain Live Parasites, Warn Scientists