Bad News For Sushi Lovers

Appreciated by some and sulked by others, sushi is a Japanese specialty that has the wind in its sails in recent years. Considered to have a significant nutritional value, however, sushi is not without health hazards. In fact, these can be the cause of a serious infection.

Often made up of rice and raw fish, sushi has become increasingly popular lately. But this specialty that comes straight from Japan, can represent a danger to health.

Indeed, sushi can be the source of parasitic infections. Recall that raw fish may contain parasites or worms that can settle in the human body, once consumed and cause infections including anisakiasis.

What is anisakiasis?

Anisakiasis or herring worm disease is a parasite caused by the consumption of raw fish infected with anisakis, a type of parasitic nematodes. This infection is most popular in Japan, where consumption of sushi is much higher, but also in the Netherlands, due to consumption of preserved herring and Spain due to the consumption of raw or marinated anchovies.

A recent case:
 
Lately, this infection also affects other countries, notably because of the popularity of dishes made from raw fish. Among the most recent incidents, the infection of a 32-year-old Portuguese, who showed signs of infection after eating a piece of raw fish in a Japanese restaurant. The patient was suffering from severe pain in the intestines, vomiting and fever one week before going to the hospital.

Once admitted to the Egas Monis Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, physical examinations showed a fragility of the abdomen, while the results of the laboratory showed an increase in the rate of white cells, which is a typical sign of infections.

After the consultation, the patient said he had eaten sushi. The physicians used this information to diagnose and performed gastrointestinal fibroscopy. This examination demonstrated inflammation of the intestinal membrane on which a parasite was hooked.

The doctors immediately removed the parasite, which then turned out to be an anisakis. Immediately after the operation, the patient was already better and the symptoms he suffered disappeared.

It is important to pay attention to the food we eat, because even if they look healthy they can have serious health consequences. Besides the digestive disorders it causes, anisakiasis can also cause anaphylactic shock, in rarer cases, irregular heartbeat and difficulty breathing which can be fatal.

It is also important that doctors consider a possible case of anisakiasis when the patient presents this type of symptoms, especially if he has just eaten sushi.

So sushi is not as good for health as we think. And this has been corroborated by numerous studies. According to one study, people who consume sushi regularly are more likely to have cardiovascular disease. Another scientific research has shown that eating a lot of sushi, exposes us to high levels of mercury, which can impact the nervous system and reduce cognitive functions.

How to prevent anisakiasis?
 
Normally, anisakis can live in the human body for weeks, but will die before becoming an adult. But before that, it produces an inflamed mass in the esophagus, stomach and intestines.

Treatment is not always necessary in case of parasitic infection, but it is important to remove the parasite to relieve the symptoms.

To prevent anisakiasis and reduce the risk of this infection, it is better to avoid the consumption of raw fish. It is also advisable to freeze the fish. Placing fish at -20 ° C for at least 72 hours can eliminate parasites.

Normally, Japanese specialty cooks can detect anisakis in fish, because it is visible. It has also been reported by some people that they feel a sensation of tingling in the mouth after ingesting raw fish. This is the parasite that moves in the mouth and throat. In such cases it is possible to cough to eliminate it or to vomit.

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