A Sushi Lover Pulled a 5-Foot Tapeworm Out of His Body

A plate of salmon sushi

Doctor Kenny Banh revealed the Fresno man's case on a January 8 episode of the Podcast "This Won't Hurt A Bit", a show that mixes medical topics with laughs.

The really long helminth - the general name for a parasitic worm - unraveled and laid out on paper towels on the emergency department floor, measured 5½ feet long. Again, Banh: "He thinks he's dying - 'My guts are coming out of me!' " Inexplicably, he decides to grab the end and pull. He continued to pull, and eventually wrapped the entire parasite around the toilet paper roll.

A California man with a love of raw fish had a major scare when a trip to the bathroom led to a disturbing discovery.

But stop reading now if you are inclined to be queasy. Eventually, the patient mentioned his near-daily salmon sashimi habit, which Banh said was likely to blame for the monster worm - especially given that the CDC released a warning about tapeworm larvae found in North American salmon last winter.

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.

Banh said a young fellow strolled into the clinic whining of bleeding the runs and approaching to be tried for worms.

The fish species in the study involved several types of wild Alaskan salmon: chinook, coho, pink and sockeye salmon, as well as rainbow trout. But when fish isn't frozen for long enough, or if it doesn't reach low enough temperatures, some parasites can survive and find their way into people's bodies, Banh explained.

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According to the CDC, such tapeworms can grow up to 30 feet in length.

Still, the infection remains uncommon in humans.

And researchers say that this means salmon caught anywhere along the Pacific coast of the United States may have tapeworm. Permanent fetal position and lots of crying, that's all I would be able to muster. Their eggs are swept out into the world via the host's bowel movements, then swallowed by another host, when the cycle begins again.

It previously only infected fish found in Asian waters. According to Dr. Bahn, the man eats it nearly every day.

The tapeworm in the Fresno case as 66 inches long.

The man was given medication to remove the rest of the tapeworm from his body.

Though it's not clear what caused the infection, Banh mentioned that the patient consumed raw salmon in sushi on a near-daily basis, which might have been to blame.

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