Are There Parasites In Pink Salmon: Are There Worms That Are Dangerous To Humans - What They Look Like, Photo

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Are There Parasites In Pink Salmon: Are There Worms That Are Dangerous To Humans - What They Look Like, Photo
Are There Parasites In Pink Salmon: Are There Worms That Are Dangerous To Humans - What They Look Like, Photo

Video: Are There Parasites In Pink Salmon: Are There Worms That Are Dangerous To Humans - What They Look Like, Photo

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Video: What You Should Know Before Taking Another Bite Of Salmon 2023, February

Pink salmon is a valuable fish of the salmon family, which is appreciated for its nutritional and taste characteristics. This product is most often consumed in salted, dried or smoked form. All these types of processing cannot guarantee the complete destruction of parasites inside the meat, so people often have a question: are there parasites in pink salmon? To find out the answer, you need to arm yourself with knowledge of the parasitology of ichthyofauna.


  • 1 The main parasitoses of pink salmon
  • 2 Parasites of natural populations
  • 3 Parasites of artificial populations
  • 4 Diseases dangerous to humans

    • 4.1 Anisakidosis
    • 4.2 Diphyllobothriasis
    • 4.3 Opisthorchiasis

The main parasitosis of pink salmon

Parasites are found in almost every marine fish. Moreover, sterility is sometimes a sign of special disorders. Pink salmon fry may not be infested with parasites for the first few days of life, sometimes (in rare cases) this period stretches for several weeks, but then infection invariably occurs.

First of all, unicellular parasites enter the body, followed by eggs of multicellular organisms, which develop at different rates in fish tissues. In healthy pink salmon, the number of parasites remains within those limits that allow it to live and reproduce normally. Most often, fish with some kind of concurrent disease are especially affected. In this case, the invasion can lead to a rapid death.

Pink salmon is very rare, in which only one type of parasite can be found. Most often there are several of them, and in the most severe cases, multiple infection is found.

Fish that are commercially reared in marine cages tend to have fewer parasites. First of all, this is due to artificial nutrition, which does not contain eggs and cysts that lead to parasitosis.


Parasites of natural populations

With the growth of pink salmon in seawater conditions, the species diversity of the parasitic fauna can be much greater than when grown in closed water bodies. The most common types are as follows:

  • Microsporidia. The simplest parasites that are related to fungi. They are capable of forming spores that settle in muscle tissue and in the heart. Sometimes the number of infestations, according to parasitological studies, reached 938 cysts.
  • Myxosoma. Spores of myxosomes are very resistant to drying: they can persist without water for up to 10-15 years. The destruction of the cartilaginous tissue of the fish progresses. Affected specimens exhibit "twisting" - frequent circular movements around the tail. If the infected specimen does not die, then over time the myxosomes turn into spores, and the symptoms stop. These microorganisms can only be seen under a microscope.
  • Anisakids. These are small worms up to 4 cm in length. They are usually transparent. In pink salmon, it is easier to notice their whitish cysts up to 3 mm in diameter. One fish can contain up to several hundred and thousands of cysts.
  • Diphyllobothriids. In fish meat, these organisms appear as small white short ribbons that wiggle until they are cooked. Their localization is the fish intestine.

Parasites of artificial populations

With artificial breeding, the parasitic fauna, which is found in pink salmon, has a slightly different species diversity:

  • Trichodines. Parasitic ciliates that are not visible to the naked eye. Whitish patches may form on fish integuments. Sick fish that have been massively infected with such infusoria stop eating and quickly die.
  • Hilodonella. Ciliates of this genus affect young growth weakened by wintering. They move through the body, scales, and eat epithelial cells. Chilodonella is characterized by a very rapid reproduction, therefore, literally a couple of individuals can bring pink salmon to death within a week.
  • Tetrachymenas. Microorganisms that infect the epithelium of the superficial layer, which can penetrate at later stages into muscle tissue and the abdominal cavity. The tail and lateral fins are severely affected.
  • Trematodes. Cryptocotylosis caused by these pink salmon parasites affects primarily the pyloric appendages of the gastrointestinal tract.

Diseases dangerous to humans

Despite the fact that many of the above parasites can cause diseases that are dangerous for pink salmon and even lethal conditions, not all of them are dangerous for people. Many do not penetrate into the tissues of the human body, but are simply excreted with feces, passing through the entire gastrointestinal tract.

But for some, the ultimate host is mammals of a higher organization, including humans. Most often, after eating insufficiently thermally processed pink salmon, people develop anisacidosis, diphyllobothriasis and opisthorchiasis.


This disease belongs to helminthiasis. The larval stages of this kind of helminths are dangerous for humans.

When cutting fish, anisakids look like white worms tightly coiled into spirals. If you expand them, then the largest individuals will be no longer than 5-6 cm. They can be found both in the body cavity and in the muscles or in the caviar of pink salmon.


After entering the human body, an incubation period lasts one to two weeks, then the first symptoms appear. If anisakids are localized in the intestines, then the signs are practically absent or weakly expressed. In the event that the stomach becomes the target of anisakid, then disruptions of the digestive process occur, causing pain under the solar plexus, nausea and the appearance of vomiting with impurities of blood. In this case, fever and allergies are possible. The most dangerous complication is intestinal perforation with anisakids. Sometimes anisakidosis becomes chronic.


The disease provokes a broad tapeworm. In the final owner - a man - he can grow up to 10-12 m. The body consists of many segments. The tapeworm is able to remain in the human body for up to 25 years.

Most often, one tapeworm lives in the gastrointestinal tract, rarely several. The end part of the tape with segments is periodically torn off and excreted from the rectum along with feces.


The asymptomatic course of diphyllobothriasis is considered exceptional; in other cases, pain in the peritoneum, nausea, impaired appetite, constipation and diarrhea, darkening in the eyes, dizziness and weakness occur. Often there are swelling of the limbs and face, pallor, cracks in the tongue, parasthesia. In later stages, severe anemia is possible.


After eating pink salmon, which contains trematodes, the incubation period lasts about 14-28 days.


The target organs of opisthorchiasis are the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. The signs of the disease are as follows:

  • high fatigue, weakness, drowsiness;
  • skin manifestations of allergies, especially on the face;
  • heat;
  • heavy sweating;
  • inflammation of the bronchi;
  • diarrhea, gas and vomiting;
  • decreased appetite.

Perhaps asymptomatic for many years. Often the only symptom of opisthorchiasis is allergy.

Read also:

  • What parasites in sea and river fish are dangerous to humans
  • Parasites in red fish: are there and are they dangerous
  • Parasites in red caviar: are there and are they dangerous

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