Tapeworm in Salmon: Japanese Parasite Found in Alaskan-Caught Fish

Continued research on the tapeworms by the Czech Science Foundation, however, has revealed that all cases of Tapeworm infections in Japan, South Korea and the Pacific coast of Russian Federation, including the ones previously thought caused by the more common tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum, were actually also caused by Japanese tapeworms.

Experts are now anxious that people who love to eat raw fish might not be willing to give up their preferences.

By observing the musculature and the internal organs of the fish under a magnifying glass, the researchers discovered larvae measuring up to 15 millimeters long. As such, the biologists stress that those who catch salmon along the North American Pacific coast should be extremely careful because the fish is most likely infected.

Roman Kuchta, lead author at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic stated that massive infections may result in intestinal obstruction and other complications. The scientists, however, warn the problem could spread if not remedied: Because salmon is often packed and transported on ice (but not frozen), the tapeworm's larvae may be able to survive the trip, possibly infecting consumers in Europe, New Zealand, China, and other parts of the US.

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Both diphyllobothrium latum (and related species such as the Japanese parasite) can grow to be as long as 30 feet. The findings revealed that the species of Pacific salmon such as chum salmon, masu salmon, pink salmon and sockeye salmon are also carriers of Japanese tapeworms.

Before you freak out, it turns out most people who become infected have no symptoms, the CDC says. "Some feel a little bit of abdominal discomfort, some have nausea or loose stools, and some even lose a little weight".

"Actually, most of the people who are infected don't have symptoms", Schaffner was quoted as saying. "More severe cases may require specialized consultations and complementary analyses, which are costly", Kuchta said.

The chief of gastroenterology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, Dr. Patrick Okolo tells about the antibiotics and says that special drug can target specific parasite.

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In other words, this species of tapeworm is the most risky.

The scientists later discovered that the parasite is more risky than they had thought.

The health effects of Japanese tapeworm infection are not generally serious. "I am sure we will be on the lookout for this kind of tapeworm going forward".

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