Appreciated by some and shunned by others, sushi is a Japanese specialty that has been booming in recent years. Considered to have significant nutritional value, sushi is not without danger to health. Indeed, these can be the cause of a serious infection.
Often made 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 is a parasitosis caused by the consumption of raw fish infected with anisakis, a type of parasitic nematode. This infection is especially popular in Japan, where consumption of sushi is much higher, but also in the Netherlands, because of the consumption of herring preserved as well as in Spain because of the consumption of raw or marinated anchovies.
A recent case:
Recently, this infection also affects other countries, especially because of the popularity of dishes based on 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 suffered severe bowel pain, vomiting, and fever a week before going to the hospital.
Once admitted to the Egas Monis Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, the physical examinations showed a fragility of the abdomen, while laboratory results showed an increase in white cell count, which is a typical sign of infection.
After the consultation, the patient claimed to have eaten sushi. The doctors relied on this information to make the diagnosis and performed a gastrointestinal endoscopy. This examination demonstrated the inflammation of the intestinal membrane on which a parasite was attached.
The doctors immediately removed the parasite, which later turned out to be anisakis. Right after the operation, the patient was already better and the symptoms he was suffering from disappeared.
It is important to pay attention to the foods 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 rare cases, an irregular heartbeat and difficulty breathing that can be fatal.
It is also important for doctors to consider a possible case of anisakiasis when the patient has this type of symptoms, especially if he has just eaten sushi.
So sushi is not as good for you as we think. And this has been corroborated by numerous studies. According to a 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 function.
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 symptoms.
To prevent anisakiasis and reduce the risk of this infection, it is best to avoid the consumption of raw fish. It is also advisable to freeze fish. Indeed, placing the fish at -20 ° C for a minimum of 72 hours can eliminate parasites.
Normally, Japanese specialty chefs can detect anisakis in fish because it is visible. It has also been reported by some people that they experience a tingling sensation 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.