Teen Dies From Tapeworms in the Brain

Damage-causing cysts were seen on MRI scans of the patient's cerebral cortex and brain stem

Damage-causing cysts were seen on MRI scans of the patient's cerebral cortex and brain stem

According to the World Health Organization, the patient may have been infected after eating undercooked food - especially pork - or drinking water that had been contaminated with tapeworm eggs. Formerly known as "grand mal" seizures, these neural disturbances cause stiffened muscles and a loss of consciousness.

According to the doctors, the 18-year-old had been having pain in his right groin for at least a week.

The unidentified teen was first taken to the emergency room of a hospital due to generalised tonic-clonic seizures, according to a case study released by The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.

When the eggs are ingested and exposed to a person's stomach acids, they hatch and cross the gastrointestinal tract, making their way into the vascular system, moving through critical parts of the body and forming the kinds of cysts that afflicted the Indian teenager.

Diagnosis: neurocysticercosis, a parasitic disease of the brain caused when someone swallows tapeworm eggs that have passed in the feces of someone who has an intestinal tapeworm.

An ultrasound later revealed well-defined cysts were also present in the teen's eye and right testis.

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The MRI showed the cysts had damaged his cerebral cortex (the thin layer of brain that covers the outer portion), the brain stem, and the cerebellum that sits at the back of the head above the spinal cord.

It is common in Latin America and Asia, and there have been outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The illness can be life-threatening and even fatal.

In his case, with cysts in his brain and eye, doctors were not able to apply antiparasitic medications, which can worsen bleeding in the brain or cause loss of vision.

Despite receiving treatment the teen died two weeks later.

Generally, these infections call for anti-parasitic drugs combined with anti-inflammatory medicines, but surgery may be necessary if a patient doesn't respond or to reduce brain swelling.

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