Incredible Health

Doctors find tapeworm larvae in California man's brain

In a Nov. 2, 2015 photo, college student Luis Ortiz pauses while describing the night he ended up in the Queen of the Valley Medical Center earlier this year. Ortiz says he went to the emergency room in early September with a terrible headache and nausea, became comatose and when he woke up doctors told him he had a tapeworm larvae living in his brain and required immediate surgery. The surgery and the aftermath have greatly impacted his life, said Ortiz. (J.L. Sousa/Napa Valley Register via AP)

In a Nov. 2, 2015 photo, college student Luis Ortiz pauses while describing the night he ended up in the Queen of the Valley Medical Center earlier this year. Ortiz says he went to the emergency room in early September with a terrible headache and nausea, became comatose and when he woke up doctors told him he had a tapeworm larvae living in his brain and required immediate surgery. The surgery and the aftermath have greatly impacted his life, said Ortiz. (J.L. Sousa/Napa Valley Register via AP)

A California man says he went to an emergency room with a terrible headache and nausea, slipped into a coma, and when he woke up doctors told him a tapeworm larvae had been living in his brain.

College student Luis Ortiz of Napa told the Napa Valley Register (http://bit.ly/1RQzfHc ) that doctors said he needed immediate surgery to remove the tapeworm.

Ortiz's neurosurgeon, Dr. Soren Singel, says the worm had formed in a cyst that was blocking the flow of water to chambers in the brain, "like a cork in a bottle."

He says another 30 minutes of that blockage and the 26-year-old Ortiz would have died.

Singel says tapeworm eggs likely made it into Ortiz's intestine from unwashed food and eventually the larvae made it into his brain.

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