Woman's Sore Throat Turns Out to be Worm Lodged in her Tonsil

If you're thinking about what to have for lunch, you might want to skip the sushi. A 25-year-old woman in Tokyo who went to the hospital with a sore throat, discovered there was something far creepier than a virus causing the painful irritation.

According to a case study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, doctors at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo had to remove a long black worm that had nested itself inside the woman's tonsil after she consumed sashimi a few days earlier.

The worm, which measured about 1.5 inches long and 1mm wide, was still alive when doctors used tweezers to remove the worm, identified as a nematode roundworm, from the 25-year-old's tonsil.

The nematode was determined to be in the fourth-stage of its larva state, meaning the infection had likely been caused by a younger version found in the sashimi she'd consumed earlier in the week.

According to the authors of the study, such infections have become more commonplace in recent years due to the increased popularity of sushi and sashimi dishes. More than 700 cases have been documented in Japan, South America, the Netherlands, and other counties in the North Pacific.

After the worm was removed, the woman was discharged and she completely recovered.

Photograph: Sho Fukui/Takahiro Matsuo/Nobuyoshi Mori/American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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