Canadian man hospitalized after eating worms in homemade salmon sushi

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Calgary man hospitalized after eating homemade sushi
WATCH: A Calgary man heads to the ER after some bad homemade sushi caused him severe pain. Heather Yourex-West explains what creatures ended up inside the man's stomach, and how to prevent a similar nightmare – Jan 22, 2016

If you like to make sushi at home, you may want to think twice about doing that.

An Alberta man made sushi at home using raw wild salmon he bought at a Superstore and within an hour he was in the emergency room, according to a newly released study.

His stomach pain was severe, but the cause perplexing.

The 50-year-old patient had x-rays and a CT scan, which showed his body was reacting to something. But it was during an endoscopic procedure – when a doctor uses a tiny camera – that a creepy diagnosis was made. Worms one-to-two centimetres long were feeding on the lining of his stomach.

READ MORE: 53 people in 9 states sickened after eating raw tuna

The man was suffering from Anisakiasis, a parasitic disease caused by worms (nematodes) that can attach to the wall of the esophagus, stomach or intestine.

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The physicians believe this is the first Canadian case involving raw salmon. People can become infected by eating raw seafood and fish, according to the report.

A skilled and trained sushi chef can recognize the distinctive “watch coil” of larval worms, but a home chef may not and could inadvertently ingest the nematodes also known as round worms, according to researchers.  The case, from August 2014, is detailed in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology. The lead author is Dr. Stephen Vaughan, an infectious disease specialist with Alberta Health Services.

READ MORE: Man complains of headache, doctors find tapeworm larva living in his brain

Catherine Thomas, director of external communication for Loblaw Companies Limited, which owns Superstore, told Global News in an email, “fish, like any raw meat, requires careful handling by retailers and consumers. We have extremely rigorous policies and procedures to ensure the safety of the food in our stores. We do not market any of our fish for raw consumption.”

The doctors say it is highly unlikely that sushi prepared in a Canadian restaurant or grocery store would contain any parasites because of safe food handling and legislation.

If you want to make sushi at home they recommend you freeze the fish for seven days at ‒20 degrees Celsius before you prepare the salmon or at a colder temperature for a shorter period of time.


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