Doctors find black worm in woman’s tonsil after throat pain

Often times, the culprit behind an achy throat is a cold or the flu.

However, a woman visited a Tokyo hospital for throat pain, and upon a physical exam, doctors discovered a black worm writhing in her tonsil.

Doctors fished out the 38 millimeter (1.5-inch) long worm with a pair of tweezers. The 25-year-old woman’s symptoms quickly improved after removal.

The worm tweezed out of the woman’s tonsil was 38 millimeters (1.5 inches) long. (Photo credit: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene)

According to the case study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the woman experienced five-day “left pharyngeal pain and irritation” after eating assorted sashimi.

The worm was molting, or shedding off, the outer cuticle, which revealed that it was in a fourth-stage larva of Pseudoterranova azarasi.

This uncommon nematode is said to infect dominantly in the stomach after a person consumes third-stage larvae in raw or undercooked marine fish. More than 700 cases have been reported in Japan, North Pacific countries, South America and the Netherlands, according to the study.

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Although this kind of infection is rare, the number of reported cases has “markedly increased” due to the growing popularity of raw fish consumption worldwide, according to the study.