Anisaskiasis – Spain

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) reported a brand of anchovies in vinegar from Spain could contain the parasite anisakis. Three people have been affected with mild symptoms in the country.

The product involved is “Boquerones en Vinagre” of the brand “Pescados Medina” in 250-gram plastic containers with lot code 270420 and the date 27 Jul 2020. Authorities recommended that people who have the implicated product at home refrain from consuming it and return it to the place of purchase.

The affected product was made in Andalusia and distributed in that region as well as to Aragon, Catalonia, the Canary Islands, Castilla y Leon and Madrid.

Anisakiasis, or herring worm disease, is a parasitic disease caused by worms, also known as nematodes. The best way to prevent it is to avoid eating raw or under-cooked fish or squid.  It is most common in areas where eating raw fish is popular, such as Japan. However, there have been cases in the USA, Europe, South America, and other regions.


Photo: Anisakis nematode in salmon sashimi.

Signs and symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention, diarrhea, blood and mucus in stool, and mild fever. Allergic reactions with rash and itching, as well as life-threatening anaphylaxis, can also occur.

Anisakiasis is a growing problem. Researchers are not sure what has caused the increase of anisakis worms in past decades, but climate change, more nutrients from fertilizers and runoff, and an increase in marine mammal populations over the same period could all be potential factors.


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