Moving reptiles?  Use our snake and lizard quarantine PCR panel to avoid spreading contagious agents.

Ruminating about hoofstock issues?  Try our ruminant fecal screening PCR panel - tests for most common GI pathogens in wild & domestic ruminants.

Our Rodent Infestation PCR Panel tests for 5 common pathogens found in rodent-contaminated facilities.

In over your head? Try our waterborne pathogens PCR panel - detection of 7 different environmental pathogens by real time PCR.

Something fishy going on in your tanks? Try our new Zebrafish screening PCR panel - tests for 6 different pathogen categories from one easy-to-collect sample.

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Zoologix performs environmental, zoo, wildlife and aquatic PCR tests for...

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Anisakis worms



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Anisakid worm (fish worm) PCR test

wildlife and zoo assay data sheet

Anisakid worms

Test code:
X0036 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of Anisakis and Pseudoterranova worms ("sushi worms") by real time PCR.

Anisakiasis or herring worm disease is a parasitic disease caused by infection with larvae of worms of the genera Anisakis and Pseudoterranova. Anisakid worms share common features of all nematodes, such as vermiform body plan, round cross section and lack of segmentation. Currently, nine species are genetically recognized in the genus Anisakis, and among them Anisakis simplex and Anisakis pegreffii are the major causes of human anisakiasis.

These worms, normally found in the flesh of many species of marine fish, squid and other marine organisms, infect the gastrointestinal tract of marine mammals like seals and toothed whales as part of their life cycle, but can also be transmitted to humans.

Transmission occurs when a marine mammal or human eats raw or undercooked fish or squid infected with anasakid larvae. People infected with these worms typically develop abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting within hours of ingesting the larvae. If larvae continue growing in the small intestine, it may result in an inflammatory mass, and produce symptoms resembling Crohn’s disease in one to two weeks. However, symptoms of anisakiasis typically resolves spontaneously after several weeks; rarely, it persists for months. Only in some cases is removal of the larvae via endoscopy or surgery required. However, people who produce immunoglobulin E in response to this parasite may subsequently have an allergic reaction, sometimes including anaphylaxis, after eating fish infected with Anasakis species.

Anisakiasis is more common in cultures where raw fish is often consumed, such as Japan and Korea (as sashimi) and parts of Latin America (as ceviche). However, due to internationalization of cuisines, more and more people enjoy eating raw fish and squid; thus, the incidence of human contact with these “sushi worms” is increasing.

Anisakid worm larvae can survive pickling, salting, and smoking. If raw fish consumption is desired, the fish can be frozen at -200C or below for 7 days before consumption, as freezing can kill the larvae. However, fish quality can be compromised by freezing, so if unfrozen fish is desired for high-quality fresh sashimi or other raw dishes, the source of the fish should be tested to screen for the presence of anisakid larvae. Molecular detection by PCR is increasingly being used to detect and confirm the presence of these worms in fish and squid (Lim et al., 2015). PCR can also identify nonviable larvae present in frozen fish.


  • Help confirm and identify Anisakis and Pseudoterranova worms in fish or squid
  • Screen fish or squid for parasites
  • Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical diagnosis of the infection

Lim, H., Jung, B.-K., Cho, J., Yooyen, T., Shin, E.-H., & Chai, J.-Y. (2015). Molecular Diagnosis of Cause of Anisakiasis in Humans, South Korea. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 21(2), 342–344

Specimen requirements:  Fresh, frozen or fixed worm or partial worm, or 0.2 ml fresh, frozen or preserved fish flesh or squid flesh suspected of containing larvae. Should there be a delay in shipping, refrigerate the samples.

Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.

For all specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain frozen in transit. See shipping instructions for more information.

Turnaround time: 2 business days

Methodology: Qualitative real time PCR

Normal range: Nondetected

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