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5-foot tapeworm found in California patient, doctor says

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Posted at 7:56 AM, Jan 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-19 14:04:23-05

A California man visited an emergency room with a grocery bag in hand. The contents appeared to be a giant tapeworm. 

The problem was the worm came from inside the man, according to Dr. Kenny Banh, who told the story to the producers of the podcast "This Won't Hurt a Bit" in an episode published on Jan. 8.  

Dr. Banh is an emergency physician at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, California and said the worm measured at 5-feet, 6-inches long. 

Banh said the incident happened about two months ago, according to the Fresno Bee

The patient also complained of bloody diarrhea, Banh said, but the patient noted, "I really want to get treated for worms." 

The patient told Banh he ate raw salmon almost every day, but had not traveled outside of the country, drunk well water or done anything out of the ordinary, according to the Fresno Bee. 

The raw salmon likely was the issue, according to the Fresno Bee. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study last year where researchers said they've noticed an uptick in reports of Japanese broad tapeworms, and the study linked the source to uncooked salmon from the Pacific coast. 

According to the Bee, tapeworms can be found in some types of fish that are not properly flash frozen — a process that kills the worms. The patient was given a pill to clear out the rest of the parasite, according to the Fresno Bee.