Red Brick Daily

Love sashimi or other raw meats? Do you drink Taiwan’s tap water?

If so, you could share the fate of an unnamed woman in her 30’s who sought treatment at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital recently for severe back pain and partial paralysis in her legs.

Head of the Department of Neurology, Lin Tsu-kung (林祖功), gave the woman an MRI scan … which showed long irregular shapes in the woman’s lumbar spine, spreading across five vertebrae.

“We saw objects of irregular shapes, but it was not until we operated that we discovered the objects were still moving,” he said, adding that they were shocked to discover sparganosis — a parasitic infection caused by tapeworm larvae.

The larvae — the longest about 20 centimeters — were removed from the woman’s spine but doctors cautioned that damage to the woman’s nervous system might be permanent.

Doctor Lin said the woman was in the habit of drinking tap water and often ate raw tilapia fish … so the larvae likely entered her body orally, made their way into her spine … and began damaging her nervous system, causing back pain, partial paralysis in her legs and urinary dysfunction — which does not sound like fun.

So eat your sashimi with care and DON’T wash it down with tap water.