Home sci-tech Sushi worms have increased 283 times since the 1980s

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Sushi worms have increased 283 times since the 1980s

by Ace Damon
Sushi worms have increased 283 times since the 1980s

There are people who do not dispense with good Japanese food based on raw fish, however, news can be disagreeable: sushi currently has 283 more parasites than in the 1980s. Washington Universityin the USA, which found a higher concentration of Anisakis, popularly known as herring worm and sushi worm, compared to 40 years ago.

Data from different regions and times were analyzed to arrive at the concentration of Anisakis over the years. "This study harnesses the power of much research together to show a global picture of change over a period of almost 4 decades," says Professor Chelsea Wood, from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fisheries.

In addition to understanding the impact this can have on human health, the report can show how marine mammals are also affected by this increase in the number of worms.

In people who ingest worms, symptoms vary from nausea to diarrhea, but usually stop in a few days. The disease caused is anisakiasis, but it is usually believed to be just food poisoning. Fortunately, sushimans are prepared to detect worms in fish meat, as they can reach up to 2 cm in length and have a whitish color. Thus, they hardly reach the final consumer of Japanese delicacies.

Worm is easily seen with the naked eye Wikimedia Commons

However, marine mammals are not so lucky: they almost always ingest fish with Anisakis and expel it through feces, which contaminate small crustaceans, such as shrimp. Then, they end up going back to the fish that feed on these smaller animals, closing the contamination cycle.

It is not yet known, however, whether they have an impact on the health of mammals such as whales and dolphins, but given their resistance, they are likely to have some effect. It is even speculated that this is the reason why some species of mammals are unable to breed correctly, increasing the species, due to anisakiasis.

It was also not possible to determine the causes for the increase in the quantity of herring worms. It is believed that climate change, the excess of fertilizers and the increase in the marine mammal population have contributed to this scenario.

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