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Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Sushi lover pulls live 5-foot tapeworm out of his body

Sushi lover pulls live 5-foot tapeworm out of his body

It had been growing inside of him for some time.

In the January 8 episode of medical podcast "This Won't Hurt A Bit," Dr. Kenny Banh recalled how the man asked to be tested for worms and what he did next.

"A young Asian man comes in presenting to the emergency room dept [.] and he said, 'Hey, I'm having some bloody diarrhea [.] but I really want to get treated for worms", Banh recalled.

Banh asked what exactly happened, and the patient recounted the abdominal cramps and other symptoms - including a trip to the bathroom when he discovered what was going on.

Skeptical at first, as most ER doctors are of patients self-diagnosing their ailments, the man handed Banh proof in a grocery bag. And that's when Banh saw it.

After pulling out the tapeworm, the man, who remains unnamed, wrapped it around a cardboard toilet paper tube before handing it in to Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center in California.

Then he began to remove the worm, which started moving.

The tapeworm didn't have that effect on the Fresno patient, who was a little chubby, Banh said.

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. They hunted for the tapeworm larva via microscope, and confirmed it was the Japanese species using a recently developed molecular technique. When Banh laid it out on the floor of the emergency department, he said, it measured five feet, six inches long. While that is uncomfortably long, it's not a record. The tapeworm reportedly began to leave the man's body while he was sitting on the toilet. He reported no trips overseas and couldn't recall drinking any questionable water.

As Senior Associate with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Dr Amesh Adalja said in a CBS News interview-The risk of contracting the tapeworm from your sushi is low - but it exists. While it's unclear if the man will be swearing off all sushi for the rest of his life, he DID say that he wouldn't be eating raw salmon anytime soon. However, he admitted eating raw salmon sashimi on a daily basis, which the doctor suggested might have caused the tapeworm infestation.

The best defense is to eat fish that's been adequately cooked or flash frozen.

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