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Man in China ate raw fish for 3 years, liver infested with parasites

He thought eating raw fish with mustard would kill parasites.

Kayla Wong | September 12, 03:46 am

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The liver of a man in China was found to be filled with parasites as a result of eating raw fish regularly for the last three years.

Persistent fever

According to Fujian Television Station, the man whose surname is Lin, first came down with a fever in July this year.

His temperature went up to as high as around 39°C to 40°C.

Thinking that it was just a common cold, he then self-medicated by taking some cold medication.

But while the medicine helped bring his fever down slightly, he said his temperature quickly shot up again.

Seeing that his condition did not improve for the next 10 days, Lin then went to see a doctor.

Liver infested with Chinese liver fluke

That was when he learnt his liver was infected by a type of parasite called Clonorchis sinensis, or the Chinese liver fluke.

A person can become infected by this particular sort of parasite in the liver, gallbladder, and bile duct, should he or she consume undercooked freshwater fish, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Once ingested, the parasites can live within the liver for as long as 25 to 30 years, which is the lifespan of the parasite.

In the worst case scenario, the man could even develop liver cirrhosis.

The Chinese liver fluke is the most common human fluke in Asia.

Most infections occur in China.

Loves to eat raw fish

Lin told Fujian Television Station that he loves to eat freshwater fish and mantis shrimp.

And as he likes to eat them fresh, he thought the best way to consume them would be to have them as they are — raw and uncooked.

Not completely unaware of the possibility of parasites living in these freshwater creatures, the man said he dipped them in mustard, thinking that it was enough to kill the parasites if there were any.

But evidently, it was inadequate.

A doctor interviewed by Fujian Television Station warned people not to consume raw fish that are of unknown origins.

In addition, she said those who consume raw seafood should pay greater attention to their health should they experience fatigue and persistent fever, adding that the parasites might reside in the host for quite some time without any symptoms showing.

Consuming freshwater fish banned in Singapore

The Chinese liver fluke can also be killed by either flash freezing or cooking the fish thoroughly.

But consuming raw freshwater fish avails the consumer to other bacterial infections.

In December 2015, the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Agri-Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) announced the ban on freshwater fish being used in all ready-to-eat raw fish dishes.

The ban came after a spate of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections reported since June that year, where the consumption of yusheng with congee caused some patients to fall ill.

One woman in Singapore had to undergo surgery to drain pus from her brain after she suffered a Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria infection believed to have been the result of eating raw freshwater fish.

Saltwater fish, on the other hand, appears slightly safer for raw consumption.

According to CNA, ready-to-eat raw fish imported into Singapore have to pass through stringent checks by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), and any product that fail the tests will not be sold.

Top image via Fujian Television Station 

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