Research finds evidence of a large increase in parasitic worms in raw seafood dishes

A new study from the University of Washington published in the Journal Global Change Biology (March 19, 2020,, found a 283 fold increase from 1970 to 2015, in the presence of a worm that can be transmitted to humans who eat raw or undercooked seafood (Anisakis spp. or “herring worm).  When people eat live herring worms, the parasite can invade the intestinal wall and cause symptoms that mimic food poisoning.  In most cases, the worm dies after a few days, and the symptoms disappear because the worms can’t reproduce or live for more than a few days in a human’s intestine. However, they can persist and replicate in fish and other marine mammals. The worms reproduce in the guts of these animals and are released into the ocean via the marine mammals’ feces, then infecting more animals. 

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