Parasites in crustaceans cause coughing up blood

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Gourmets should avoid freshwater crayfish in exotic countries

The German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP) advises consumers to only eat crustaceans that are well cooked. Because parasites can nest in the crab meat, leading to cysts in the lungs. Symptoms include cough with a bloody sputum.

Lung fluids can also affect other organs
Parasites in raw crustaceans can cause dangerous health damage, warns the DGP. In severe cases, even the brain can be affected. The unpleasant intruders are killed by the heat from cooking. Marinating or curing is not enough to protect against the parasites.

People in exotic countries are particularly at risk. Tourists should be particularly careful there and avoid freshwater crabs if possible. But the pathogen also occurs in our latitudes, which according to the DGP is probably widespread worldwide. Symptoms include shortness of breath and cough, gastrointestinal complaints, fever and chills shortly after the infection, the experts report. The feared cough with bloody expectoration usually occurs months or years later. The reason for these symptoms are lung fluke, which can nest primarily in the human lungs but also in other organs. In severe cases, the leeches can cause epilepsy, meningitis, blindness and even paralysis. The DGP advises those affected to seek medical help in order to destroy the parasite with the help of medication.

Fish is contaminated with pollutants If you do not eat the crustaceans and eat fish instead, you can absorb toxic pollutants with the fish fat. Especially in river fish, significantly increased dioxin values ​​have been measured in the past. In marine fish, harmful substances are stored, especially in adipose tissue, which also pose a health risk. Instead of high-fat fish such as herring, consumers can therefore eat low-fat fish such as cod. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised against consuming tuna, salmon, herring, eel and swordfish. (ag)

Image: Susanne Schmich /

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