Featured Image Credit: Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme
Gruesome pictures surfaced on the internet of a dead whale seemingly killed by nasty parasitic worms off the Fife Coast at Dalgety Bay. The horrifying images show the intestines bursting with “spiny-headed” worms that could have been passed to the baby mammal through its mother’s milk.
According to the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS), the parasites left the 13-foot Minke whale so severely malnourished and weak that it became stranded and eventually beached and passed away. The examiners stated that “the reasons for this extremely poor condition was a significant parasite burden in the stomach and the intestines.”
According to Nick Davidson, strandings coordinator for SMASS, “Parasites are one of the most common killers of Minke whales. Once infected they either strike a balance of surviving and living with the parasite or they succumb to it.” These species of parasites can’t be passed to humans, but other species in fish can infect people.
The British Medical Journal has warned sushi lovers in the past of the dangers of consuming raw and undercooked fish. Earlier this year doctors found parasite larvae in a man’s gut lining in Portugal. They later identified it as Anisakiasis, a parasitic disease caused by worms that can invade the stomach wall or intestine of humans after he admitted to consuming sushi.