Woman’s Sore Throat Was Really A Worm Living In Her Tonsil

August 29, 2020

A tickle in your throat? It could be allergies, irritation or even COVID-19.

But here’s an explanation that may not be on your radar: worms squirming in your tonsils.

At least, that’s the cause of one woman’s sore throat in Japan, according to a new report on the case.

According to the report, published July 8 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the woman likely contracted the parasite after eating sashimi or raw fish.

The 25-year-old woman went to the hospital after experiencing a sore and irritated throat for five days. After her symptoms began, she consumed “various sashimi,” the report said. Doctors quickly identified the culprit: a 1.5-inch (38 mm) black worm in her tonsils.

Further tests revealed that the woman was infected with Pseudoterranova azarasi, a parasitic roundworm that usually infects marine mammals such as walruses and seals, according to Newsweek. However, humans can contract the worm by eating raw fish or squid, according to Newsweek. When Pseudoterranova is present, it is usually found in the stomach, and throat infections are rare, according to the report.

Pseudoterranova belongs to the same family as a more common parasitic roundworm, Anisakis simplex, which can also cause stomach infections.

Doctors were able to remove the worm with forceps, and the woman’s symptoms improved rapidly, according to the report.