Worm Eggs Discovered in Man’s Brain After Migraine Complaints — Undercooked Bacon Was the Reason

A man from Florida went to the hospital because he was suffering from severe migraines that were getting worse over time. He was 52 years old and had been experiencing these headaches on a weekly basis. Doctors initially thought he had congenital neuroglial cysts after seeing a mass on a CT scan. However, further tests, including an MRI, revealed that the mass was actually tapeworm larvae in his brain.

The man had no idea.

The patient was admitted to the hospital, where additional tests confirmed that the masses were not cysts, but rather the larvae of tapeworms. A report published in the American Journal of Case Reports stated that the «Cysticercosis IgG Cysts antibody returned positive, confirming the suspicion of neurocysticercosis.»

Neurocysticercosis is a preventable parasitic infection caused by the larval cysts of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium, according to the CDC. These larval cysts can infect different parts of the body, leading to a condition called cysticercosis. When the larval cysts affect the brain, it’s termed neurocysticercosis, which can result in seizures.

According to the CDC, neurocysticercosis, the most severe form of the disease that affects the brain, can be fatal.

The study pointed out that cases of neurocysticercosis in the United States are very rare, typically associated with classic exposures or travel. It was previously thought that such cases didn’t occur in the US. The study also highlighted that encountering infected pork in the United States is historically uncommon, suggesting potential public health implications based on their findings.

Despite denying consumption of raw or street food, the report reveals that the man confessed to regularly eating lightly cooked, non-crispy bacon throughout his life. Doctors hypothesized that this habit might have been the source of his infection.

Hygiene plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The report suggests that the man’s cysticercosis might have been transmitted through autoinfection. This means that after contracting taeniasis (tapeworm infection) from his eating habits, improper handwashing could have led to the transmission of the cysticercosis larvae.

The CDC describes the unsettling journey of how the parasite ends up in the brain after being ingested.

Here’s the process:

  1. A person consumes undercooked pork containing tapeworm larvae, leading to a tapeworm infection in the intestines.
  2. The infected person passes tapeworm eggs in their feces.
  3. If proper handwashing isn’t practiced after using the bathroom, the eggs can contaminate food or surfaces.
  4. Another person may inadvertently swallow these eggs if they consume contaminated food.
  5. Once inside the body, the eggs hatch into larvae and make their way to the brain, leading to neurocysticercosis.

The man received treatment with antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory medications, as detailed in the report, and was advised to follow up with an infectious diseases clinic.

Good hygiene is crucial in stopping the spread of neurocysticercosis, caused by tapeworm larvae in the brain. Washing hands well after using the restroom helps prevent spreading tapeworm eggs, which can infect others if they touch contaminated surfaces or food.

It’s also important to handle and cook food safely, like making sure pork is cooked thoroughly, to avoid swallowing tapeworm larvae and getting infected. These basic hygiene habits are key to stopping parasites from spreading and keeping everyone healthy.

To prevent neurocysticercosis, it’s important to practice good hygiene not just for personal cleanliness, but also when handling food. Following hygiene rules and cooking food safely helps lower the chance of getting tapeworm infections and developing neurocysticercosis. By staying mindful of hygiene, we can protect against the spread of parasites and create a healthier community.

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