Doctors are warning people about the dangers of sushi after finding a mass of writhing worms inside a man's gut.
A 32-year-old Portuguese man was in pain for a week after eating slices of raw fish from a Japanese restaurant, The Telegraph reported.
The man went to the hospital where doctors used an endoscope to determine what was wrong. The long tube with a camera revealed that the man had a deadly parasitic worm infection, with several worms burrowing into his gut lining.
Raw fish at times harbors tiny worms that can lodge into a human gut when eaten. The condition is commonly known as anisakiasis, and can cause severe stomach pain, fever and vomiting.
Severe cases of anisakiasis can also cause a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction. In these cases, the parasites can trigger an erratic heartbeat and even respiratory failure.
Doctors cleared the worms out of the man's gut using a special retrieval net -- and the patient's symptoms were almost immediately gone.
The Lisbon doctors who treated the man are now warning other doctors to consider checking for the condition when patients say they are suffering, pain, vomiting, nausea and other complications like bowel obstruction and bleeding, especially if they have recently eaten sushi.
"Owing to changes in food habits, anisakiasis is a growing disease in Western countries, which should be suspected in patients with a history of ingestion of raw or uncooked fish," Dr. Joana Carmo, a gastroenterologist, wrote in a BMJ Case Report. "Patients can have allergic symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting and complications like digestive bleeding, bowel obstruction, perforation and peritonitis can also arise."
While people might consider sushi a healthy, nutritious, low-calorie meal, research has suggested the opposite. One study revealed that regular sushi eaters could be at an increased risk of heart disease, according to reports.
Researchers also learned that people who eat a lot of sushi are at risk of exposing themselves to dangerous levels of mercury, which can lead to heart disease, decreased cognitive performance and other issues with brain and nervous system development.
The sushi retail market is reportedly booming in the United Kingdom, with an estimated net revenue of more than $87 million. In the United States, the annual sushi industry revenue is estimated at $2,250,000,000, according to Statistic Brain.
Cases of anisakiasis are more rare in Western countries due to the fact that most dietary fish is cooked, which kills the worms. However, the rise of sushi has caused a surge in hospital cases all across Europe.