WEATHER »

Resident Recreates Worm Encounter

Santa Barbara Dance Instructor’s Fight with Parasitic Worm to Appear on Animal Planet


What started as an innocent sushi meal for one Santa Barbara resident turned into something far worse: a bout with anisakiasis, a parasitic infection that nearly killed her and made her unique as the first person in the country to ever contract this disease.

The infection nearly killed Alana Tillim, owner of Santa Barbara Dance Arts, and required the removal of her colon and part of her intestines for treatment in 2002.

After spending two weeks in the hospital and dropping to 85 pounds, Tillim survived, and will be dramatically reenacting her ordeal Wednesday at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet for the show Monsters Inside Me.

“As the very first person in the U.S. to get this, I was sort of a case study,” said Tillim, who is now completely healthy after fighting complications from the parasite in 2004.

The infection was caused by anisakis simplex, a parasite that usually resides in the stomachs of marine animals but can be transmitted to humans who eat undercooked seafood, according to information from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.

In Tillim’s case, the mass that was removed from her digestive system was a combination of the parasite, which was about a centimeter long, and the cells used by her body to fight the infection.

“The real message is that this can happen to anyone, anywhere,” Tillim said.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Volunteers in Policing Is Looking for 10 Good Men and Women

An eye-opening volunteer program at Santa Barbara Police Department.

Alvarado and Ford File for School Board

Mark M. Alvarado and Kate Ford registered to run for the Santa Barbara Unified school board.

Thousands Received DACA Relief After Lawsuits Filed

Renewal applications have totaled 117,446 since program suspension was overturned.

Bank Robbery Suspect Kills Self in Bathroom

[Update] The suspect in the Goleta Rabobank robbery has been identified as Keith David Goodwin, believed to ...

News-Press’ Found to Owe Union and Employees $2.2 Million

National Labor Relations Board puts money amount on employee losses since 2006.