The Journal of Clinical Microbiology has recently published a study showing some shocking facts that about 20 million people may suffer from intestinal tapeworm infection. Specifically, it has been found that a Japanese broad tapeworm known as Diphyllobothrium latum has reached the fish in America by way of the Asian Pacific. Therefore, the next time sushi lovers buy salmon should pay attention to this fact.
But, What Is Actually the Japanese Broad Tapeworm?
Tapeworm is a parasitic flatworm that can survive in the intestines in humans and animals. In addition, the bodies of these parasites are actually ribbonlike with a little head, which has snares and suckers that originate from it. These parasites can also segment themselves. It means that a larger tapeworm could split into a few separate tapeworms. Moreover, they feed on whatever the person consumes, so that the person may experience severe weight loss.
Believe it or not, this parasite could grow up to 30 feet long.
Here Are the Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Intestinal Tapeworm Infection:
In most cases, infections do not trigger any symptoms, but in severe cases, you may experience the following signs:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Intestinal obstruction
- Weight loss
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Gall bladder disease
The Japanese Broad Tapeworm Infection in the U.S.
Clinical Microbiology Reviews published a 2009 study suggesting that the consumption of uncooked and raw fish has become increasingly popular within the last years. According to the study, uninspected and suspicious Pacific pink salmon imports may lead to instant increase in Diphyllobothrium infections.
To date, there have been about 2,000 cases of the Japanese broad tapeworm infection. Furthermore, most of these cases are actually based in northeastern Asia. But, American citizens should also be careful because the parasitic flatworm has been found in wild pink salmon from the Alaskan Pacific.
Roman Kuchta works at the Czech Academy of Sciences. He is the lead researcher for the latest study that has been published in CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Additionally, Kuchta along with his colleagues tested 5 species of wild salmon from Alaskan coast fishermen. They examined 64 fish. What’s more, they detected larvae from the Japanese broad tapeworm as testing the 23 Pink salmon.
Kuchta pointed out that the infection may not be harmful in about 20% of infected cases. These people usually experience diarrhea and abdominal pain. He also explained that the aim of this study is to make sure that a large percentage of medical doctors and parasitologists learns about the potential harmful effects of this tapeworm infection. He added that this infection can be triggered by consuming infected salmon imported from the Pacific coast of North America.
Here Is How to Decrease Your Risk of This Infection:
Unluckily, the latest research and the potential risk cannot prevent people from consuming raw fish, in particular salmon. In addition, Amesh Adalja, who is a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, explains that the possibility of getting the tapeworm from sushi still exists. However, you can decrease your risk by not consuming undercooked or raw fish.
Also, you can freeze raw fish for several days in order to destroy the Japanese broad tapeworm or any other parasites.
For instance, consider using the following freezing methods:
- 35°C (-31°F) until solid, and storing at -35°C (-31°F) for at least 15 hours;
- 35°C (-31°F) until solid and storing at -20°C (-4°F) for 1 day;
- 20°C (-4°F) or below for a week.
Also, it is advisable to cook the fish to an internal temperature of 145° F.