How do you eat raw fish
Do you eat raw fish safely and healthily?
A parasite is a plant or animal that feeds on another living organism, the host, for no benefit whatsoever.
While some parasites do not cause obvious acute symptoms, many can cause serious damage over the long term.
Parasitic infections in humans are a major health problem in many tropical countries. Many of them are spread through infected drinking water or improperly cooked food, including raw fish.
However, you can minimize this risk by purchasing raw fish from trusted restaurants or suppliers who have handled and prepared it properly.
Below is an overview of some of the major parasitic diseases that can be transmitted to humans after eating raw or undercooked fish.
Liver fluke are a family of parasitic flatworms that cause a disease known as opisthorchiasis.
Infections are most common in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe (1).
Researchers estimate that around 17 million people worldwide, mainly in Southeast Asia, are affected by opisthorchiasis.
Adult liver fluke live in the livers of infected humans and other mammals and feed on blood. They can cause enlarged liver, bile duct infections, gallbladder infections, gallstones, and liver cancer (2).
The main cause of opisthorchiasis appears to be consumption of raw or improperly cooked fish. Unwashed hands and dirty preparation surfaces and kitchen utensils also play a role (3, 4).
Fish tapeworms are transmitted to people who eat raw or undercooked freshwater fish or sea fish that spawn in freshwater rivers. This includes salmon.
Up to 15 meters in length, they are the largest known parasite to infect humans. Scientists estimate that up to 20 million people worldwide can be infected (5, 6).
While fish tapeworms often cause no symptoms, they can cause a disease known as diphyllobothriasis.
Symptoms of diphyllobothriasis are usually mild and include fatigue, stomach upset, diarrhea, or constipation (7).
Tapeworms can also steal significant amounts of nutrients from the host's intestines, particularly vitamin B12. This can lead to low or deficiency levels of vitamin B12 (8).
Parasitic roundworms can cause a disease called anisakiasis. These worms live in marine fish or fish that spend part of their life in the sea, e.g. B. Salmon.
Infections are most common in regions where fish is often eaten raw or lightly pickled or salted, including Scandinavia, Japan, the Netherlands, and South America.
Unlike many other fish-borne parasites, anisakis roundworms cannot live long in humans.
They try to dig into the intestinal wall, where they get stuck and eventually die. This can lead to a severe immune reaction that leads to inflammation, stomach pain, and vomiting (9, 10).
Anisakiasis can lead to immune reactions even if the worms are already dead when the fish is consumed (11).
Another family of parasitic roundworms can cause a disease known as gnathostomiasis (12).
These worms are found in raw or undercooked fish, poultry, and frogs in Southeast Asia, Latin America, India, and South Africa. However, infection is rare outside of Asia.
The main symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and fever. In some cases, skin changes, rashes, itching, and swelling can occur (13).
Depending on where the parasitic larvae migrate in the host's body, the infection can cause serious problems in various organs.
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