After suffering a headache for more than a week, she went to get it checked out, and that's when the doctors made a startling discovery.
A woman in Australia had been suffering regular headaches for 7 years. When she went to get it checked by the doctors, they found a cyst-like structure in her brain only to later realize that it wasn't one. Instead, it turned out to be tapeworm larvae!
According to Health , the 25-year-old woman's case was published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on September 21. This is the first native case of the parasite known as neurocysticercosis (NCC). The distressing part is that NCC can be fatal. The woman, a barista, who had never been overseas, used to experience migraines two or three times a month. One of her migraines turned out to be really bad when she suffered a headache for more than a week. It even affected her vision, so she went to get it checked out. Doctors carried out a brain scan and discovered she had a tumor that needed to be removed. But once they removed the lesion, they discovered that it was a cyst full of tapeworm larvae.
So what really is the parasitic tapeworm? WHO states that "Neurocysticercosis is a preventable parasitic infection of the central nervous system and is caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium. Humans become infected after consuming undercooked food, particularly pork, or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs, or through poor hygiene practices. Taeniasis is the intestinal infection of the adult tapeworm. When left untreated, a more serious condition known as cysticercosis develops as T. solium larvae invade body tissues. When larvae build up in the central nervous system, muscles, skin and eyes, it leads to neurocysticercosis – the most severe form of the disease and a common cause of seizures worldwide."
The CDC noted that: "Symptoms of NCC can include seizures, headaches, or dizziness, although some patients with NCC show no symptoms. The greatest risk of getting NCC is through close contact with a tapeworm carrier."
In a similar case of tapeworm infection, a man in Thailand pulled out a 17-foot long tapeworm from his butt! 34-year-old Duangchan Dachyoddee had been suffering from stomach aches and had gone to the toilet. While he was doing his business, he noticed something writhing against his skin. When he looked down, he saw a long, yellow worm and realized it was coming out of his rear end! According to LADbible , Duangchan said he thought the wriggling worm was an "alien." "I thought it was an alien. It was disgusting. That thing had been living inside me for a long time.'' It was discovered to be a beef tapeworm. Unfortunately, there may be more of these slithering creatures in his system but Duangchan said he's feeling a lot better since the unwelcome visitor left. "My stomach has felt better since the big one came out. But I still feel a bit sick knowing that there are more worms inside me. The doctors said it would be a few days before I start feeling better."
In yet another case, a man in Texas experienced headaches. This too turned out to be tapeworm larvae that was lodged in his brain's fourth ventricle. Some tapeworms can even some can pass on their own without medication but others need a doctor's intervention.
According to CNN , the way to prevent the infection is to cook meat at safe temperatures. Always make sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom and before handling food. Don't forget to wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Visit a doctor if you notice any symptoms.
Healthline states that when symptoms do occur, they often include: nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dizziness, diarrhea. weight loss and weakness. Tapeworms travel to the gut but when they move to other parts of the body it's called an invasive infection where symptoms include: headaches, seizures, a cyst, or lump. Talk to your health professional if you notice any of the above symptoms.
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