How worms can start in a person’s throat

(ORDO NEWS) — There are very insidious creatures on our planet – parasitic worms that penetrate people and large animals, and then suck energy out of them. Most often, people become infected with pork tapeworm (Taenia solium), which causes severe abdominal pain and can even damage the brain.

As a rule, worms penetrate the gastrointestinal tract and attach to the walls of internal organs. But recently, Japanese doctors told how one of the parasites settled right in the throat of a 25-year-old patient. During the examination, the girl revealed that she had recently eaten sashimi, a traditional Japanese dish similar to sushi. It uses raw fish and it turned out to be infected with a worm, which is much less studied than the same pork tapeworm. In fact, the patient was very fortunate that the parasite settled in the throat and not in the intestines. But why?

Parasites in food

The unique medical case was reported in the scientific journal ScienceAlert. According to staff at St. Luke’s Hospital in Tokyo, a young patient came to them with a complaint of sore throat. Blood tests did not reveal any health problems and the girl looked completely healthy. If she had a cold or a virus, blood samples would clearly hint at it. During the conversation with the patient, the doctors learned that five days before going to the hospital, she ate a dish of sashimi. Among the ingredients of this dish is fresh fish – doctors quickly realized that a parasitic worm could be the cause of the girl’s illness.

Worms in man

During the examination of the girl, the parasite was indeed found. He hid in the girl’s throat, namely in the left amygdala (gland) – a tissue that protects the body from harmful microbes and participates in the formation of immunity. He ostentatiously wriggled inside the tonsils, so that the doctors did not waste time and simply pulled him out of there. The length of the worm reached 38 millimeters, and the width was equal to one millimeter. The researchers explained the activity of the parasite by the fact that it shed the top layer of the skin – in other words, it shed.

The cause of the pain in the girl’s throat was the larva of the roundworm Pseudoterranova azarasi. Like many other parasites, it gets inside humans and animals to literally live off them. Cases of infection with this worm are rare, but still exist – in the mid-1990s, about 700 cases of infection were recorded. In most cases, the parasite entered the stomach, so the described case with penetration into the tonsils is really a rarity.

Danger of parasites

According to Japanese doctors, the found parasite is not as dangerous as others. As mentioned above, pork tapeworm causes abdominal pain and can also reach the brain and damage it. And in the described case, the worm simply caused discomfort in the throat. However, if the girl did not go to the hospital on time for help and the worm could develop to the adult stage, she could have had more serious problems.

The girl was very lucky that the worm penetrated only into the tonsils. After all, if it were in the gastrointestinal tract, it would be difficult to detect and extract. And so, he was right before the eyes of the doctors and he was quickly eliminated. It is reported that after removing the worm, the girl immediately felt better and was able to go home. Henceforth, she will be very careful when eating Japanese dishes with raw fish.

In general, the fact that there was a worm in the fish is very suspicious. As a rule, raw fish used in dishes is pre-cooled – so the parasites have less chance of survival. If fish or meat is used for cooking hot dishes, the worms have little chance of survival and further development. That is why it is recommended to thoroughly fry, stew and process all meat products in other available ways.


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