Anisakis nematode (Anisakis)


Fish is fading away, looks as if it is starving to death.
Eating normally
Fish can suffer from inanition even when apparently eating normally, especially when diet is unbalanced.
Sluggish movements
Fish moves almost reluctantly in the water.
Impaired swimming efficiency
Impaired swimming efficiency.


The nematode parasites of this family differ from others as their complex life cycle needs several stages (usually four) before completing their life cycles in the final host i.e. a fish. It is passed on when an infected fish is eaten by a large marine mammal. If infected fish are caught, and eaten raw or undercooked, they can even affect humans. In Japan and today other countries the growing popularity of Sushi, Sashimi, Ceviche and Gravlax, makes it vital to be aware of the possible risks. Freezing raw fish at -20 C for a minima of 8 days  will theoretically ensure the eradication of the parasite, however many home deep freezers will not reach this degree of coldness. In Japan the population as well as virtually all restaurateurs are aware of the risks, so cases of infection are very rare as all fish are treated by freezing, preservation techniques, etc. before being consumed. 


The prognoses vary with host, parasite, the tissue site infected, as well as the intensity of infection. The greater the intensity of infection, the more unfavourable the prognosis.


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Because of the highly complex life cycle no prophylactic techniques are known


Dr. Hauck, Kent
Fish Pathologist
Utah Dept. of Aquaculture
Salt Lake City  UT.   USA


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