Scientists have issued a salmon warning regarding the fish caught along North America’s Pacific Coast. As it turns out, that particular species could be infected with a type of tapeworm.
Tapeworms are a form of invasive parasite. They make their home within a host’s digestive tract. The host could be any number of creatures, including humans.
Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to make sure that you’ve killed off the parasite before it can have the chance to hurt you or your family. According to the salmon warning published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, you can kill the larvae before it has the chance to infect you.
The CDC said that if you adequately freeze the fish before eating it, it will kill the larvae. If you’re eating fresh fish, cooking it for about 4 to 5 minutes to bring it to a temperature of 145ºF will also be enough.
The salmon warning is cautioning consumers about the Japanese broad tapeworm that could be infecting the species along the entire North American Pacific Coast. Originally, this tapeworm infected only Asian fish. However, recent findings has shown that the infection may have spread to the North American side of the Pacific. The study looked into wild caught salmon but didn’t look into farm raised salmon. Species at risk of infection include: chum salmon, masu salmon, pink salmon and sockeye salmon.
If this doesn’t already have you feeling squirmy, then here are some facts about the tapeworm. The CDC says it can grow to a length of 30 feet. Many people who are infected with it are entirely unaware as symptoms of infection are either not there or are exceptionally mild. People who do experience symptoms from an infection will usually have loose stool, nausea, other forms of abdominal discomfort, or weight loss.
That said, tapeworm infections are not harmless. If they are allowed to worsen, severe infections can lead to intestinal obstruction. Treatment can be tough on individuals and families as they take time. The segments must be passed over time as they don’t all leave the body at once. In the case of severe infections, regular and extensive testing and consultations can be required, which is time consuming and potentially expensive.
The main way in which people find out that they have tapeworms is that they find pieces of them in their stool or floating in the water following a bowel movement.