Man discovers migraines caused by brain tapeworms; Undercooked pork may be the culprit

A man was hospitalized with bad migraines, only to discover they were caused by parasitic tapeworm larvae in his brain – and researchers believe he was infected by eating undercooked pork.

An unidentified 52-year-old American man consulted doctors about changes in his regular migraines over a four-month period. American Journal of Case Reports Published on Thursday. Migraines are frequent, severe and unresponsive to medication.

The patient was admitted to the hospital for examination. CT scans revealed numerous cystic foci, fluid-filled sacs in the brain. Cysticercosis cyst antibody tests came back positive, and the man was diagnosed with neurocysticercosis, according to the study.

Neurocysticercosis is a form of parasitic tissue infection caused by larval cysts of the pork tapeworm found in the brain. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention condition.

A person gets cysticercosis by ingesting larval cysts from infected feces, which is usually caused by a lack of hand washing, according to the CDC. The disease is prevalent in developing countries due to poor sanitation.

The only link to the diagnosis of neurocysticercosis was the fact that the patient had no recent travel to high-risk areas, and his “habit of eating lightly cooked, undercooked pork most of his life.”

“This is speculative, but given our patient's prognosis with undercooked pork and benign exposure history, we prefer that his cysticercosis was transmitted by autoinfection after his dietary exposure to taeniasis and improper hand washing,” the report concluded.

The patient was successfully treated with anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory drugs. His brain lesions regressed and his headaches improved.

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Patients with neurocysticercosis are “extremely rare” in the United States, but the study's findings may change that perception.

“Encountering infected pork in the United States is historically very unusual, and our case may have public health implications,” the report said.

Symptoms of neurocysticercosis range from headaches to seizures, depending on which structures and tissues are affected. According to the CDC, this disease is fatal.

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