Stunned doctors have removed a nine-foot (2.8m) tapeworm that was growing inside a man in Singapore.
The parasite, which was pulled out the unnamed patient’s rectum, had to be folded 18 times so that it could fit into this picture.
The patient, who was left appalled, did not display any symptoms of having a tapeworm – which can cause severe abdominal pain and be deadly.
It is unsure how the man became infected as tests have been inconclusive, but they can be found in undercooked pork, beef and fish.
Experts at the Singapore General Hospital’s Department of Microbiology, believe it is most likely to have come from ingesting raw fish.
The nine-foot (2.8m) parasite, which was pulled out the unnamed patient’s rectum, had to be folded 18 times so that it could fit into a picture
Raw fish consumption has been on the rise in Singapore and across the world amid the soaring popularity of sashimi.
Tapeworm infections occur after ingesting the larvae of diphyllobothrium, found in freshwater fish such as salmon.
While cases have increased in poorer areas due to improved sanitation, cases have increased in more developed countries.
Professor Hsu Li Yang, an infectious diseases expert at the hospital, said: ‘The patient was somewhat appalled when the worm was passed out via the rectum.’
He shared details of the 2016 case to illustrate the issue of people being infected with parasites after eating raw or undercooked seafood.
Professor Hsu said the 2.8 metre-long worm was clearly a tapeworm as no other human parasite could grow to such a length.
‘The question is what tapeworm, which will also help answer how the patient had acquired the worm,’ he added.
Humans can contract tapeworm infections from sushi by eating raw fish that has been infected with the worm in its larvae stage.
When fish eat tapeworm eggs, the hatching larvae attach themselves to the intestinal wall of the fish and the worms infect the fish flesh.
Because sashimi is not cooked, the larvae can in turn transfer into the flesh of any human that eats the fish.
Once a human is infected, a tapeworm will grow inside the intestine to a length of up to 15m over a period of weeks.
It can survive for years and go undetected for weeks or months, in turn releasing its own eggs that infect other parts of the human body.
Symptoms include fatigue, constipation and abdominal discomfort – which can be so mild the victim may not notice anything is wrong.
If larvae begin to migrate to other parts of the body they can start to eat away at the liver, eyes, heart or brain and cause life-threatening conditions.