ShareThis Page

Gigantic tapeworm may have come from sushi

Ben Schmitt
| Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, 2:45 p.m.
A sushi roll
James Knox | Trib Total Media
A sushi roll
Dr. Kenny Banh treated a man in August who ended up producing a 5-foot-6-inch tapeworm from his body. He shared the case on a Jan. 8 episode of the medical podcast “This Won’t Hurt a Bit.'
Dr. Kenny Banh/This Won't Hurt a Bit
Dr. Kenny Banh treated a man in August who ended up producing a 5-foot-6-inch tapeworm from his body. He shared the case on a Jan. 8 episode of the medical podcast “This Won’t Hurt a Bit.'

Sushi anyone?

A California man's steady diet of raw fish possibly landed him in the hospital with a tale of ultimate grossness. Doctors measured out a 5-foot-6-inch tapeworm that came out of his body after he showed up complaining of abdominal cramps and diarrhea. He also brought the worm with him ... in a bag.

According to Dr. Kenny Banh, who treated the man in August and shared the case on a Jan. 8 episode of the medical podcast "This Won't Hurt a Bit," the patient came to a Fresno ER and thought he was dying.

Banh, the emergency physician at the University of California at San Francisco, in Fresno, said he was skeptical of the patient at first until the man showed him the possible culprit in a grocery bag.

He found a cardboard toilet paper tube with a tapeworm wrapped around it.

The man discovered the worm when he felt it wiggling out as he sat on the toilet. Banh said the man initially thought his "guts were coming out," until he started to remove the worm and it started moving. "He's just pulling it and it keeps coming out. He wraps it around this toilet paper roll, washes it off and puts in a plastic bag and comes to the emergency department."

Banh unraveled the worm and it equaled his height.

"Everyone at triage is like, 'I guess I'm not that bad,'"Banh said.

After a few questions, the man revealed that he loves sushi and eats it almost daily.

"He said, 'I eat raw salmon almost every day,'" Banh said. "He loves salmon sashimi."

Doctors gave the man a de-worming pill to expel the rest of the worm from his body.

"It's no different than the de-worming medication you might give to your dog from the veterinarian," Banh said. "One dose kills all the worms. Amazingly simple."

According to a 2017 warning from the CDC, Japanese broad tapeworm larvae have been found in many Pacific-caught salmon.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, or via Twitter @Bencschmitt.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me