This horrifying story is a great reminder for summer grillers to make sure their meat (especially pork) is fully cooked before serving it to family members or guests.

FOX News – The parents of an 8-year-old girl suffering from severe headaches and epileptic seizures for months were both relieved and horrified when doctors told them her diagnosis: 100 tapeworm eggs were inside her brain.

Doctors at Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, India, told India Today the larvae traveled to the girl’s brain through her bloodstream, causing massive swelling. By the time she was hospitalized, the young girl, who has not been identified, was nearly unconscious.

“Her brain scan showed more than a 100 white dots, formed due to tapeworm eggs,” Dr. Praveen Gupta, director of neurology at Fortis Hospital, told the newspaper. “When eggs reach the brain through the nervous system they cause neurocysticercosis, which is characterized by a severe headache, epileptic seizures, and confusion.”

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A tapeworm infection is typically caused by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the parasites.

“If you ingest certain tapeworm eggs, they can migrate outside your intestines and form larval cysts in body tissues and organs,” according to the Mayo Clinic. If you ingest tapeworm larvae, however, they develop into adult tapeworms in your intestines.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes the tapeworm infection of the central nervous system as a leading cause of epilepsy. According to WHO, neurocysticercosis is the most frequent preventable cause of epilepsy worldwide and is estimated to cause 30 percent of all epilepsy cases.

The video below explains how pork tapeworms infect the central nervous system:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the likely culprit in this girl’s case was the Taenia solium, also known as a “pork tapeworm” because the infection is typically caused by eating raw or undercooked meat.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), parasites, like tapeworms are not just found in third-world countries. They are, in fact, not that uncommon in the United States.

CBS News reports – For many people, parasites are the stuff of nightmares. These organisms take up residence in their human hosts and feed on the nutrients of the person, causing both minor ailments as well as serious and sometimes life-threatening illness.

Millions of Americans develop parasitic infections and symptoms often go unnoticed or are misdiagnosed. These microscopic creatures are typically picked up through food and water. An infection can lead to serious health problems, including seizures, blindness, pregnancy complications, heart failure and even death.

Cysticercosis

This parasitic infection, caused by the taenia solium tapeworm, makes its home in human tissues such as the brain and muscles. Larval cysts from the parasite form in the body and can cause a number of complications, including seizures. There are at least 1,000 hospitalizations for cysticercosis per year in the U.S. This tapeworm infection is often the result of eating uncooked pork that contains larval cysts.

Thankfully, however, it’s possible to prevent and treat infections caused by these unwanted guests. Parasites can usually be detected with a blood test or through stool analysis, and treated with anti-parasitic drugs or antibiotics.


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