Can you imagine having a worm stuck in your eyeball? It’s a true story and it could happen to you if you have consumed sushi or other vertebrates.
Gnathostomiasis: The Parasite
Gnathostomiasis is a parasitic infection caused by larvae (worms). The disease is most prominent in Southeast Asia, but cases have been reported in other parts of the world. This infection is caused by eating any one of the following:
- undercooked or raw freshwater fish
Signs and symptoms
If you’re infected, you will notice migratory swellings under your skin. You may also experience these signs:
- abdominal or right upper quadrant pain
Symptoms should appear 24 hours after consumption.
As the worm migrates throughout the body, it causes the infected person to experience severe pain. Though it’s rare, the parasite can penetrate other bodily tissues such as the liver, the nerves, the spinal cord, the eye, resulting in vision loss or blindness, or the brain, resulting in nerve pain, paralysis, coma, and death.
In this video, Dr. Greger provides you with more information about gnathostomiasis and shares real-life cases.
- Greger, M., M.D., FACLM. (2015, June 8). Migratory Skin Worms from Sushi. Retrieved from http://nutritionfacts.org/video/migratory-skin-worms-from-sushi/
- Centers for Disease Control. (2012, January 10). Parasites – Gnathostomiasis (Gnathostoma Infection). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/gnathostoma/
- Herman, J. S., & Chiodini, P. L. (2009, July). Gnathostomiasis, Another Emerging Imported Disease. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2708391/
- Online Parasitological Center. (n.d.). Clinical Presentation of Gnathostomiasis in Humans. Retrieved from https://web.stanford.edu/class/humbio103/ParaSites2001/gnathostomiasis/PAGES/clinical.htm