Sushi lover pulled 5-foot tapeworm from stomach


A Fresno, California man who walked into a hospital complaining of bloody diarrhea discovered that he had been hosting a 5-foot Japanese salmon tapeworm.

According to Bahn, the man felt the worm "wiggling out" as he sat on the toilet. His daily habit had brought him in contact with an outbreak of tapeworms from Pacific-caught salmon.

On the "This Won't Hurt A Bit" podcast, Dr. Kenny Banh, an emergency medicine physician at UC-San Francisco's Fresno campus, told the stomach-churning story of the patient who came into his emergency department August 7, 2017.

Freaked out to find a giant worm, but relieved that his entrails are intact, the quick-thinking man used the nearby TP roll as a spool to wind up the worm as he pulled it out. The patient pulled on the worm until nothing else came out, put it in the bag, and headed for the ER.

Treatment for tapeworms in humans is fairly simple: usually a single dose of an oral antihelminthic, a drug that kills the worms, "similar to the deworming medication you give your pet dog", Banh says. " 'Oh, my goodness, my guts are coming out of me!' " Banh recalled. The tapeworm had a flat, skinny body, tan in color, with narrow, dark brown lines down its back and "a big, flat head".

Taken off finished paper on the floor of the healing facility crisis room, Banh said the tapeworm estimated 5 and 1/2 feet long. Dr. Jessica Mason, the CRMC emergency room physician who is a co-host of the podcast, explained a tapeworm can grow to 40 feet in length.

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Fears over the Japanese salmon tapeworm, or Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, came to light in January 2017 when a team of researchers reported its discovery in a wild salmon in Alaska.

When questioned, he insisted he had not been overseas - and revealed that he ate raw salmon every day, reported MailOnline. The parasites can be found in different types of fish that haven't been flash frozen to kill the worms.

It previously only infected fish found in Asian waters.

In some cases, complications can lead to intestinal obstruction and gall bladder disease, according to the CDC.

As for Banh, the tapeworm won't stop him from eating sushi.

When this fish is eaten raw in sushi and sashimi, it can cause infection leading to digestive issues and even heart and liver problems.