A man in Singapore was left horrified after a nine-foot-long tapeworm was found growing inside his body. Doctors were also stunned after pulling out the creature through the man's rectum. It is being believed that the worm had come as a result of eating raw fish for a long period of time.
The patient did not have the symptoms of having tapeworms before the revelation. A common symptom of tapeworm infection is intense abdominal pain. The unaware man was left appalled by the discovery inside his body.
Tests have failed to reveal how the worm got inside the man's body. However, doctors from Singapore General Hospital's Department of Microbiology believe that it could have been a result of eating uncooked fish.
Consumption of raw fish, especially in the form of sushi and sashimi, is quite popular in Singapore and considered a delicacy. However, doctors have often warned about the infections that can come from this food.
Recently, cases of tapeworm infection have increased in developed countries due to the food habits of people. Such worms are common in freshwater fish like salmon, which is also a delicacy in many regions.
Infections can occur if a person ingests the larvae of diphyllobothrium, the probability of which increases in areas with improper hygiene and sanitation.
The case is puzzling experts as they are unsure exactly what type of worm it is. According to infectious diseases expert at Singapore General Hospital Professor Hsu Li-yang, it has to be a tapeworm as no other creature can grow to such a length.
If it is definitively determined what type of tapeworm it is, it will become easier to understand how it entered the man's body.
After a tapeworm larvae enters a human host, it can grow inside the intestines up to a length of 15 meters. It can survive as a parasite for many years and remain undetected for weeks and months. It also releases eggs that can infect other body parts.
Other symptoms of tapeworm infection are constipation, fatigue, and abdominal discomfort. Once the worms enter other body parts, they are capable of eating away at the liver, eyes, heart, and brain, even leading to fatal ailments.