Sashimi and sushi are among the most delectable oriental dishes that have grown in popularity worldwide. Despite being exotic (It is raw fish, after all.), the soft texture and the mix of different delicious flavors that come with the Japanese treat is irresistible to many. Before indulging, however, be sure to take extra precautions. 

In Alberta, Canada, doctors found tiny worms inside the stomach of a man who consumed raw salmon from a grocery store.

The 50-year-old patient went to the emergency department with chief complaints of vomiting and upper abdominal pain one hour after eating the raw, wild salmon. The pain was so severe that he gave it a score of 8 out 10. He also had a fever of 39 degrees Celsius.

The doctors instructed him to undergo chest and abdominal x-rays and a stool exam. While the chest x-ray came out normal, the abdominal imaging showed an abnormal air contour.

The doctors then performed endoscopy, which revealed stomach ulcers that had worms measuring about 1-2 centimeters at each center. The doctors extracted two worms and placed it for analysis.

The worms exhibited features suggesting that the species are anisakid worms.

Anisakiasis is caused by ingestion of worm larva belonging to the Anisakidae family. Humans may acquire this infection by eating raw seafood dishes such as sashimi, sushi and undercooked squid and fish.

The authors of the report say while sushi chefs may recognize the distinct "watch coil" feature of the worms, ordinary people cannot.

Because of the increasing popularity of sushi and sashimi across the world, experts are expecting to see more cases associated with acute anisakiasis.

The authors recommend health care facilities to ask for a detailed food report from patients who rush to the emergency room because of the onset of abdominal pain.

Among the urgent medical interventions for this condition are an endoscopy and the removal of worms.

To prevent anisakiasis, experts recommend appropriate food preparation practices. "Prevention relies on the adequate cooking of fish and seafood, or the proper storage of these foods by freezing," the authors wrote.

The medical report was published in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology.

Photo: Yumi Kimura | Flickr

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