TAIPEI — A girl with an appetite for sashimi got exactly what she ordered, but not what she expected, after contracting a tapeworm.
Shortly following the sashimi meal, the girl reported feeling itchiness in her rectal region. When surgeons examined her, they were able to detect and remove an 8.5-foot-long tapeworm, still alive and squirming. Doctors estimate the tapeworm had been a tenant inside the child’s body for over than a month.
When fish consume tapeworm eggs, the larvae grab on to the intestinal wall of their new host and infect its flesh as they hatch. When the contaminated fish is killed and consumed raw, the larvae can then transfer to their new hosts.
The girl has reportedly recovered, and is taking prescription drugs. According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, this particular breed of tapeworm, known as diphyllobothrium latum, is the largest contractible by humans. The larvae can also live inside raw, contaminated pork and beef.