Tapeworm Larva Forms Cyst in Australian Woman's Brain

Tapeworm Larva Forms Cyst in Australian Woman’s Brain

  • What was believed to be a persistent headache turned out to be a cyst that contained the larva of a tapeworm.
  • This is the first case of local transmission of the parasite in Australia.
  • Travel to regions with tapeworms, uncooked pork, and contact with food, water, and soil with tapeworms are the usual modes of transmission of the disease.

Neurocysticercosis is a parasite that can cause neurological symptoms and can even be fatal. This is what a 25-year-old Australian woman was diagnosed with after a larva of a tapeworm was found in her brain.

Neurocysticercosis
Photo Credit: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

The woman thought that she was having a migraine attack as she has been suffering from migraine for seven years. Her migraine would come once or twice a month but would later go away as she would take her prescribed migraine medication.

But this headache lasted for more than a week already and was giving her visual problems.

The doctors suspected a tumor and ordered an MRI. When her brain was operated on, the doctors discovered a cyst containing tapeworm larva.

The usual mode of transmission of the parasite or tapeworm eggs is through eating undercooked pork or from coming into contact with food, water, and soil contaminated with it. It can also be from traveling overseas to regions like Latin America, Africa, and Asia where the usual population of tapeworm can be found.

According to a new study in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the unidentified woman is now the first case to locally contract the disease in Australia, as neither she nor her relatives have been to the regions where the tapeworm is common.

The woman, who is a barista, may have contracted the tapeworm from her interaction with clients who come from these regions.

Researchers wrote that “Clinicians need to be mindful that with the ease and frequency of world travel, diseases such as [neurocysticercosis] that are highly endemic in many parts of the world pose a risk to inhabitants of countries with low endemicity.”

Source: New York Post

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