Context and aims: Japanese cuisine is now popular worldwide, and consumption of raw fish has thus increased at sushi bars and Japanese restaurants outside Japan. Anisakiasis, also known as herring-worm disease, is caused by ingesting larval nematodes in raw seafood and is a common illness in Japan. However, due to the rising popularity of Japanese food, gastroenterologists outside Japan need to be familiar with this disease.
Subjects and methods and results: We treated 158 patients presenting with acute gastrointestinal manifestations caused by anisakiasis from April 1991 to April 2000. One or more nematodes were removed endoscopically within 48 h of presentation in 44% of these patients, which resulted in prompt resolution of symptoms. Major endoscopic findings were gastric ulcer accompanied by hemorrhage, erosion, redness, and edema of the gastric mucosa in areas penetrated by larvae and other areas.
Conclusions: Endoscopy was valuable for the diagnosis and treatment of anisakiasis. We recommend endoscopy in suspected cases of anisakiasis. Moreover, it is desirable to combine complementary tests such as immunological tests/IgE measurement. As the popularity of Japanese cuisine increases, reports of anisakiasis are likely to be more frequent in countries other than Japan.
Keywords: Anisakiasis; Anisakis; Japanese cuisine; Pseudoterranova; herring worm; raw fish.