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Consumption Of Raw Fish Raises Potential Health Concerns For Consumers

Date:
October 15, 2007
Source:
American College of Gastroenterology
Summary:
Two case studies from Japan point to a potential health problem as more Americans consume raw fish in the form of sushi. Anisakiasis is a parasitic infection caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked seafood containing Anisakis larvae. The ingested larvae can lead to cramping, diarrhea, vomiting and small bowel obstruction warranting a trip to the emergency room.
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FULL STORY

Two case studies from Japan presented at the 72nd Annual Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology point to a potential health problem in the United States, as more Americans consume raw fish in the form of sushi and sashimi. Anisakiasis (round worm) is a human parasitic infection caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked seafood containing Anisakis larvae.

Consumers should be aware that while larvae for the parasitic worm Anisakis cannot survive in a human host, the ingested larvae can produce severe intestinal problems warranting a visit to the emergency room.

When ingested by humans, the larvae attach themselves to the tissues lining the stomach and intestines, resulting in sudden abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Since the larvae cannot survive in humans and eventually die, intestinal anisakiasis usually resolves on its own.

Researchers in Japan examined two cases of intestinal anisakiasis presenting as an obstruction of the small intestine. In each case, both patients, ages 64 and 70, were rushed to the emergency room with sudden abdominal pain and vomiting after eating raw sardines as sashimi two days earlier. The diagnosis of anisakiasis in the stomach can easily be confirmed by endoscopy.

However, small intestinal anisakiasis is difficult to diagnose. Both patients had abdominal X-rays showed air-fluid levels suggesting a small intestinal obstruction. Using a multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT), doctors obtained high quality images of the small bowel, and found the intestinal blockage was caused by the presence of Anisakis larvae. Fluid replacement and resting immediately relieved the patients' symptoms.

Because the symptoms of anisakiasis can mimic other gastrointestinal diseases, it might potentially be misdiagnosed as appendicitis, acute abdomen (peritonitis) or stomach ulcers. According to Mashahiro Matshushita, MD of Haibara General Hospital, "Anisakiasis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of small intestinal obstruction."


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The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Gastroenterology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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American College of Gastroenterology. "Consumption Of Raw Fish Raises Potential Health Concerns For Consumers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015081514.htm>.
American College of Gastroenterology. (2007, October 15). Consumption Of Raw Fish Raises Potential Health Concerns For Consumers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015081514.htm
American College of Gastroenterology. "Consumption Of Raw Fish Raises Potential Health Concerns For Consumers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015081514.htm (accessed April 26, 2015).

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