A Fresno, California, resident who managed to remove a 5.5 foot-long tapeworm from his rectum is blaming the ordeal on a sushi addiction. Forewarning — those with squeamish stomachs may want to stop reading.
According to the doctor-run podcast This Won’t Hurt a Bit, the individual was (rightly so) distressed after removing the tapeworm. So, he visited the Community Regional Medical Center and requested deworming medication. He carried the deceased worm with him in a plastic bag.
Dr. Kenny Banh was the attending ER physician at the time. He recounted the bizarre unfolding of events to his colleague and the podcast co-host, Dr. Jessica Mason. “He asked me for worm treatment and I was like oh, not an everyday request,” said Banh.
Though he was skeptical about the patient’s medical needs, Banh’s attitude immediately change upon opening the bag. A 1.7-meter-long (5.5-foot-long) adult parasitic flatworm was curled around an empty toilet paper roll.
Banh was informed that the worm exited the patient’s body after he experienced bloody diarrhea and the strange sensation that “something else” was leaving, too. “And you know what’s racing through his mind is he’s dying. He’s scared to death he’s got something terrible,” Banh said on the podcast. “He’s like ‘oh my goodness my guts are coming out of me,’ so he grabs it and he pulls on it, and it keeps coming out.”
“He picks it up and looks at it – and what does it do? It starts moving,” Banh added. That’s when the man learned that his “guts” were, instead, a giant worm. The quick-thinker grabbed a nearby toilet paper roll to wind up the worm as it was pulled out. He then dropped it into the plastic bag and headed to the nearby ER.
Hopeful to avoid a recurring experience, the patient asked Banh how he might have contracted the parasite. That’s when he was informed that his favorite meal — salmon sashimi — which he ate every day is the most likely culprit. As IFLScience points out, scientists have shown time and time again that uncooked fish is full of parasites, including flatworms, roundworms, and a few protozoans.
Fortunately, treating a tapeworm infection is quite simple. Humans and animals need only take a single anti-parasite pill. To prevent parasites from re-entering the body, it is important to wash raw fruits and vegetables well, avoid animal products — or, at the very least, cook grass-fed, free-range well, and drink pure, filtered water.
According to Banh, the patient vowed he would never again eat raw seafood as he exited the Emergency Room. The question is, will you?
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