Woman With Sore Throat Had Live Worm Lodged In Her Tonsils

by : Julia Banim on : 14 Jul 2020 17:30
Woman With Sore Throat Had Live Worm Lodged In Her TonsilsWoman With Sore Throat Had Live Worm Lodged In Her TonsilsSho Fukui/Takahiro Matsuo/Nobuyoshi Mori/American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene/Pixabay

Doctors in Japan have removed a long, black worm from the tonsils of a woman who had been suffering from a sore, irritated throat for a five day period.


Medics at St Luke’s International hospital in Tokyo retrieved the worm using tweezers from the 25-year-old patient’s left tonsil, where it had reportedly been ‘moving’.

The worm, which was discovered to be still alive after removal, measured in at 38mm (1.5ins) long and 1mm wide. Thankfully, the woman’s symptoms ‘rapidly improved’ following the procedure and her blood test results came back normal.

WormWormSho Fukui/Takahiro Matsuo/Nobuyoshi Mori/American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Findings from this case were published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), which identified the worm as being a nematode roundworm, one of several parasites which can infect people who eat raw meat or fish.


According to this study, the genus Pseudoterranova is an uncommon nematode (or ’roundworm’) from the Anisakidae, a family of intestinal nematodes that can cause ‘gastric, intestinal, ectopic, and allergic diseases’ if ingested.

The woman who was treated confirmed she had indeed eaten a meal of assorted sashimi five days before doctors removed the worm from her tonsil, a Japanese delicacy of fresh, thinly sliced raw fish or meat.

According to this study, pseudoterranova primarily infects the stomach after a person has consumed third-stage larvae in either under-cooked or raw marine fish. Over 700 cases have been reported throughout Japan, North Pacific countries, South America and the Netherlands.


According to this study, Pseudoterranova bodies differ notably from anisakiasis, a parasitic disease caused by anisakid nematodes which may invade a human being’s stomach wall or intestine.

Pseudoterranova are said to be larger and darker than anisakid nematodes, with sufferes experiencing milder symptoms. There is reportedly not much evidence of pharmacological treatment for Pseudoterranova, with direct removal – such as in this case – believed to be the most effective.

The study authors wrote:

Although oropharyngeal infection is rare, this infection is known to cause ‘tingling throat syndrome’ and cough and should be considered a differential diagnosis of oropharyngeal parasitosis as consuming raw fish, including sushi and sashimi, has become more popular and the number of reported cases has markedly increased worldwide.


As explained in the journal, the worm removed from the woman’s throat was a fourth-stage larva, with the infection having been caused back when it was in its earlier third-stage.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Health, Japan, Now, Pseudoterranova, Sore Throat, Tonsils, Worms


The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)
  1. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)

    Palatine Tonsillar Infection by Pseudoterranova azarasi