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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2007 February;62(1):51-60


language: English

Acute gastric anisakiasis: an italian experience

Ugenti I. 1, Lattarulo S. 1, Ferrarese F. 1, De Ceglie A. 2, Manta R. 3, Brandonisio O. 4

1 Department of General and Specialistic Surgical Sciences University of Bari, Bari, Italy 2 Unit of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy Giovanni Paolo II Tumor Institute, Bari, Italy 3 Department of Gastroenterology University of Florence, Florence, Italy 4 Department of Medicine Immunology and Infectious Diseases University of Bari, Bari, Italy


Anisakidosis is a parasitic disease of the human gastrointestinal tract caused by ingestion of larvae of marine nematodes such as Anisakis spp. or, rarely, Pseudoterranova spp., present in raw or undercooked fish. We report the first series of gastric Anisakis infection (anisakiasis) from a single centre in Italy. In our department, we observed 3 cases, all in women who were urgently hospitalized following intense epigastric pain and vomiting, developed after the ingestion of raw fish. The patients underwent urgent gastroscopy within a few hours. In each, a worm was extracted from the gastric mucosa by means of biopsy forceps. This was followed by prompt clinical improvement. The worm was identified by its macroscopic and microscopic characteristics as an Anisakis spp. larva (L3). In 2 cases, laboratory tests revealed marked leukocytosis and eosinophilia in the peripheral blood 3-4 days after ingestion of the raw fish. The diagnosis of anisakiasis can be made by endoscopy, radiology and abdominal ultrasound, but is often made only at surgery. In the gastric form of the disease, urgent gastroscopy has both a diagnostic and a therapeutic role, because the worm can be removed by means of biopsy forceps.

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