There are many foods that can be eaten raw – veggies, fruits, and even an impressive list of meats and seafood. However, there are some foods that should NEVER be consumed uncooked! One of these is crawfish. Unlike oysters, which many people choose to eat raw, eating raw crawfish can have serious results!
Paragonimiasis is the name given by the doctors at Washington University to the illness caused by eating raw crawfish. The illness is caused by a parasite carried by crawfish, but when it is ingested by people causes high fever and sharp chest pain. There have even been cases where someone has ingested more than one of these parasites. When this happens, it is not abnormal for the parasites to reproduce in the person’s lungs! More severe issues have occurred when the parasite found its way into the heart, brain or even caused temporary blindness.
No, this is not something out some far-fetched science fiction story, but rather a very serious problem –especially during crawfish season, that has happened more than one may realize. Even more frightening, is that Paragonimiasis can lay dormant for several months so that by the time the symptoms begin, the person has likely forgotten that they ate raw crawfish. In the cases where the symptoms are not manifested till later, patients have been misdiagnosed with ailments such as pneumonia, tuberculosis or even having their gallbladder removed. There has been one death related to Paragonimiasis, but it was more a result of the illness being combined with a pre-existing condition.
So now for the good news…. Paragonimiasis is easily treated, once it is detected. The treatment requires a two-day series of an anti-parasite drug. Nevertheless, it should also be noted, that without the treatment the parasite will eventually die – though that could take up to five years!
Also of interest, is that of the reported cases of Paragonimiasis, there have been none among the Louisiana crawfish crowd, but rather the majority of cases were in Missouri. In addition, with the exception of one case, all the people were male, and with the exception of a 10-year-old boy who, determined to show off his survivor skills to his buddies by eating a raw crawfish, all the people had knocked back several alcoholic drinks.
So, save yourself the pain and trauma of Paragonimiasis and set out to find some great ways to prepare cooked crawfish! Here at Cajun Crawfish we are always searching the Web to find tasty new ways to showcase the sumptuous goodness of the Louisiana crawfish. After all, we want to showcase the flavor of Cajun crawfish as part of a hot meal shared with friends and family. We do not wish to come visit our loved one in the hospital because they ate a raw crawfish! So remember, they ain’t oysters, don’t eat ‘em raw!