Parasites Found in Raw Fish


Fish caught in open waters, rather than farm-raised fish, may contain parasites that they consumed in the water. If humans eat them, they can cause a number of possible illnesses. Cooking fish will kill almost all parasites, making them harmless; raw fish in sushi and sashimi, however, pose a danger if such a parasite is within the fish and consumed.

Cod worm

  • Cod worm is most prevalent in white fish such as cod, haddock and halibut; they can infect swordfish and monkfish as well. A living cod worm consumed from raw fish will remain in a person's stomach and cause major pain before it ultimately dies. In addition to the worms being killed through cooking, most processors take the time and effort to remove the parasites from uncooked filets. They inspect the fish by shining light under them to check for worms and remove them.


  • The fish tapeworm is commonly found in fish from northern Europe, particularly Russia and Scandinavia. It can be found in crustaceans such as copepod when very young and small, while larger versions often infect fish like trout and walleye. This is the biggest tapeworm that can exist in humans. This worm absorbs the B12 vitamin, which will lead to vitamin deficiency that can cause anemia. Constipation and diarrhea are among the other possible symptoms.


  • Roundworms are among the primary parasites that infect fish in brackish fresh water including salmon. The fish consume the larvae, which then grows inside them. This is one of the least dangerous parasites, as they normally cause only cramping, bloating and diarrhea in humans before the parasites die. This type of worm was not a big problem until recent years when sushi restaurants began including salmon. Processors can check for roundworms by using ultrasound so they can then remove them.


  • Flukes are very rare in fish, but they can exist. They are much more common among fish caught in the far east, including the waters of Thailand, Japan and Siberia. A fluke goes after either the intestines or the liver, where they destroy tissue and cause inflammation. This can lead to a number of symptoms that include headaches, rashes, pain in the muscles or abdomen, nausea and anemia. They have also been known to trigger liver cancer.

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