DDisease Causing Parasites of Fish

(1) European or broad tapeworm. The fish tapeworm, called broad or European tapeworm (Diphyllobothrium latum) is identified by its segmented body and broad head. The tapeworm is found in cyst form in fish flesh. It is mostly found in the US in pike and pickerel fish midwestern or Canadian lakes. It is also found in some European freshwater fish. In man, it may grow to its adult size of 20 to 30 feet (within the intestinal tract). Infection (called diphyllobothriasis) is the result of eating raw or inadequately cooked fish. Proper preparation will render the cyst harmless. If it is cooked 10 minutes at 122°F (50°C) or frozen at 14°F (-10°C) for 24 hours, the parasite will be destroyed.

(2) Roundworm larvae. The roundworm larvae of the Anisakidae family are found in squid and saltwater fish from many parts of the world. Infected fish are common in US markets and may cause acute gastrointestinal distress (anisakiasis). This is caused by the ingestion of larval nematodes of the Anisakidae in raw or improperly prepared (salted, freezing, cooking, smoking) saltwater fish and squid. Heating at 140°F (normal cooking temperature) or freezing at 4°F for more than 60 hours kills the larvae.

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