A man in central China with a passion for eating raw beef is said to have grown a tapeworm that was up to 6 meters long, in his small intestine.
How did he know it was there? After two years of stomachaches, chronic low levels of iron, and a lack of appetite, coupled with sudden, severe stomach pain, vomiting and rapid weight loss, he finally went to the doctor.
Wise as they were, the doctors who examined him sent him over to the Department of Infectious Diseases at Renmin Hospital in Shiyan, China, where the larva of a tapeworm was found in his poo.
According to a report on iflscience.com, the man was given praziquantel and mannitol, an antiparasitic drug and a cathartic drug, to flush his system of the parasite. He was then diagnosed with carrying a beef tapeworm.
After a good three months, the man was reported to be back in good health, but likely no longer eating the raw beef that he used to enjoy. Tapeworms can enter the body in a variety of ways, one of which involves swallowing the eggs of a tapeworm from contaminated food, which can include raw or under-cooked meat.
Tapeworms are said to be rare in North America these days, because of laws that are in place on feeding practices and the inspection of farm animals, ensuring they don’t enter animals in the first place and infect our food.
In order to be certain you avoid the critters though, it’s recommended to always wash your hands before AND after going to the bathroom, to avoid eating raw fish and raw meat, to thoroughly cook meat to temperatures of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit for whole cuts of red meat and to at least 160 degrees F for ground red meat. Freezing meat to -4 degrees F for 24 hours can also provide some food safety. And when traveling in lesser-developed countries, cook fruits and veggies with boiled or chemically-treated water before eating them.