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Live worm found in woman's tonsil after eating sashimi

Japanese doctors removed the worm after the woman felt pain and irritation in her throat.
Credit: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A 25-year-old woman in Japan got a squirmy surprise when doctors found a worm living in the back of her throat.

According to a report published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the woman went to the doctor complaining of throat pain and irritation over the previous five days. That's when doctors checked and found a worm in one of her tonsils. They were able to remove the worm safely with tweezers. The woman said she felt better afterward. Her blood test results were normal and she was able to return home.

This is not the first time this type of worm has been found living inside a person's body. The report says the pseudoterranova worm is mainly found in people who ingest larvae when eating raw or undercooked fish. In this case, the woman had eaten sashimi just before she started feeling symptoms. But, that's just one of more than 700 cases of the pseudoterranova worm reported worldwide. It's known to cause gastric, intestinal and allergic reactions, including the throat irritation the woman in Japan felt.

There are other potential side effects of eating raw seafood. The FDA says it can contain parasites, some of which can be killed by freezing the seafood, but there is no guarantee. The CDC lists raw or undercooked seafood as one of the foods most commonly linked to illnesses such as infections or food poisoning. The CDC suggests cooking fresh seafood to 145 degrees and reheating it to 165, before eating it. Raw fish is also not recommended for children, pregnant women and other high-risk people.

RELATED: Dangerous parasite showing up in sushi and raw fish

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