Parasite in crabs causes to lung infection

Californians have been warned by public health officials about eating freshwater crabs after two people contracted a lung infection from eating them.

Health officials in Orange County say Sawagani crabs or Regal crabs should not be eaten raw or undercooked as they harbour a parasite that causes a lung infection.

Two Orange County residents reportedly developed the rare lung disease, lung fluke infection, which causes a cough, breathing difficulties, fever and hives and doctors believe the infection came from consuming raw or undercooked Sawagani crabs which have been distributed to restaurants in parts of California.

The crabs which are imported are distributed to restaurants in at least 16 California counties and can be eaten either live, raw or fried.

Symptoms of lung fluke usually appear six to ten weeks after consumption and if untreated the parasite can affect other organs.

Health officials are urging people who have eaten the crabs and developed any of the symptoms, however mild, to contact their doctor.

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