Be wary of indulging in too much of a good thing. A self-proclaimed sushi lover experienced what he will probably recall as the single most traumatizing experience to ever unfold by reason of his insatiable appetite for raw salmon sushi. If you're a curious health consumer, continue reading. If you're eating, continue reading … but at your own risk.
A Fresno, California, man was treated at the gentle hands of emergency physician Dr. Kenny Banh at Community Regional Medical Center. On the podcast "This Won't Hurt A Bit," the doctor retold a disturbing tale about the Fresno man, his patient, who came in complaining of bloody diarrhea -- far from unusual to a busy ER staff.
The patient handed Banh a grocery bag saying, "I really want to get treated for worms." Inside the bag, the doctor found a toilet paper roll, wrapped around it was a 5-foot-6-inch tapeworm.
"Just my height," Banh remarked.
As you could probably surmise from this disturbing scenario, the man discovered the massive tapeworm when he was sitting on the toilet, but mistook the worm for his intestines. The patient continued to pull, considerably relieved to see it was wiggling and moving about; not intestines, a tapeworm.
Banh asked the patient about his travel history, if perhaps he had been traveling to a country where public waters may be infested with worms, but the patient did confess that he ate raw salmon almost every single day.
The CDC's 2017 monthly journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases" says that wild Alaskan-caught salmon had likely been affected by a Japanese tapeworm. If fish has not been properly handled (usually flash-frozen), it may contain small tapeworms. Presumably, one of those parasites found its way into the man's stomach.
The Fresno man's tapeworm was a topic of intrigue in the ER, but it wasn't record-breaking. Dr. Jessica Mason, the CRMC emergency room physician and co-host of the podcast, explained tapeworms ability to grow to impressive lengths (up to 40 feet!). If left untreated, tapeworms can result in a sudden drop in weight and anemia, although they can grow to great lengths without noticeable symptoms.
As for the patient, he swore off his favorite sushi, vowing never to touch it again.