Anisakiasis

About This Disease

Anisakiasis is a disease of the stomach and small intestines caused by infection with a parasitic nematode (a type of worm). Most anisakiasis cases are reported in Japan, Western Europe (particularly Scandinavia), and the Pacific coast of Latin America where raw or undercooked seafood is eaten regularly.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of anisakiasis include sudden, severe stomach pain and sometimes mimics appendicitis, often with nausea, and vomiting.

Transmission

You can get anisakiasis by eating undercooked or inadequately treated (salted, marinated, smoked, or frozen) octopus, squid, and saltwater fish (commonly, salmon). Anisakiasis is not transmitted from person to person.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of anisakiasis is usually made by detecting the 2 cm long larvae in the intestines during a medical examination; it can also be found in surgically removed tissue.

Treatment

Most patients improve spontaneously without specific therapy. If necessary, the worm can be removed surgically. Prescribed medications can be effective if surgery is not needed.

Immunity

You do not developed immunity. A second infection is possible.

Risk in Hawaii

Anisakiasis is not a disease for which physicians are required to report to the Hawaii Department of Health. The risk of contracting Anisakiasis is very low.

Prevention

Thoroughly cook or freeze all seafood to at least to 140 degrees. Freeze fish up to 5 days to kill Anisakiasis.

Additional Resources

Information for Clinicians