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What's that wiggling in my sushi?

What's that wiggling in my sushi?

Physicians diagnosed appendicitis in a 24-year-old college student with severe abdominal pain. But nothing looked unusual during surgery -- until the surgeon spied a 1.5-inch, bright red worm with a slit-like mouth crawling onto the surgical drape near the patient's incision. With his inadvertent ingestion of this curlicue worm -- from the genus Eustrongylides -- the student joined the small but rapidly growing ranks of Americans who consume live parasites in raw fish delicacies such as sushi and sashimi.

This case, reported in the April 27 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, should remind both patients and physicians of the dangers of eating unprocessed fish, write Murray Wittner of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and his colleagues. Though the patient recovered, such worms can perforate intestinal linings and cause life-threatening infections.

Happily, adds Peter M. Schantz of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, most parasitic worms "are coughed up or regurgitated within hours of ingestion, producing astonishment but no disease." To ensure the safety of raw fish, he says, it should be frozen for at least five days at -20[deg.]C (-4[deg.]F). That temperature kills all relevant parasitic worms so far tested.
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Title Annotation:Food Science; Eustrongylides
Publication:Science News
Date:May 13, 1989
Words:204
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