June 16, 2009

Tapeworms are possible in sushi

A Chicago man got an unexpected side dish with his sushi at a restaurant in August 2006 -- a 9-foot tapeworm, researchers say.

Anthony Franz is one of a growing number of people infested with a salmon tapeworm, the journal The Emerging Infectious Diseases reports.

Dr. Felipe C. Cabello, professor of microbiology and immunology at New York Medical College in Valhalla, indicated the worm is not particularly dangerous. He said, usually, with this particular worm, it produces discomfort, some pain, and it can produce anemia.

Other cases of salmon tapeworm were found in Vancouver, Canada, and in Brazil, the journal said.

Other tapeworms are more dangerous, he said, although the one Franz encountered can drain the body of vitamin B12. Fish safety officials, parasitologists and cooks advise consumers to cook fish to kill off any parasites.