The Associated Press reports that eight diners who came down with a rare lung infection after eating raw shellfish consumed live sawagani crabs on a dare, health officials said Friday.
Health investigators said the crabs, which are usually served fried, were eaten at various restaurants including Riptide Rockin’ Sushi & Teppan Grill in Mission Viejo and Chomp Rockin’ Sushi & Teppan Grill in Fullerton.
Both restaurants are owned by Dan Lauriano who has said some diners apparently started a tradition where they would reach into a jar of live crabs and devour them raw as their friends cheered them on.
The results were not pretty, and after some of his patrons became sick the owner stopped ordering the crabs from the distributor.
Six to 10 weeks after they downed the crabs, participants ended up with a parasite carried by the crab that migrates from the intestines to the lungs and causes lung fluke infection.
Symptoms, which can take as long as 10 weeks to surface, include coughing, diarrhea, breathing problems, abdominal pain, fever and hives.