Anisakis, just think about it in an emergency!

Int J Infect Dis. 2013 Nov;17(11):e1071-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2013.05.008. Epub 2013 Jul 11.


A few years ago, Anisakis infection was almost unknown. Since the first observation in the Netherlands in 1960, several cases of gastrointestinal infections due to a zoonosis sustained by this nematode have been described in countries in which the consumption of raw or uncooked fish (e.g., marinated or salted) is common. Japan alone accounts for 90% of all cases of anisakiasis described in the literature because of the widespread use of raw fish in traditional Japanese cuisine, with sushi and sashimi. Nonetheless, other cases have been reported in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. In Italy, this zoonosis is rare and mostly transmitted by the ingestion of marinated anchovies in coastal areas, or fashion foods (sushi, sashimi, etc.) in inland areas. Once eaten, this parasite can cause an acute form of disease characterized by severe abdominal pain, and for this reason many patients receive the final diagnosis only on obtaining the surgical specimen. Since conservative medical treatment for acute anisakiasis relies on endoscopic removal of the nematode from the gastrointestinal wall if performed within 12h from the ingestion of contaminated fish, it should be compulsory to consider this parasitosis in the accident and emergency department. Here we describe two cases of infection by Anisakis simplex due to ingestion of marinated anchovies in a coastal area of the Tyrrhenian Sea and discuss the types and varieties of Anisakis infection in humans.

Keywords: Acute abdomen; Italy; Nematodes; Parasitosis; Raw anchovies; Zoonosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anisakiasis / diagnosis*
  • Anisakiasis / parasitology
  • Anisakis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged