Teen suffering from seizures dies after doctors discover parasitic tapeworm eggs in his brain

A teenager from India transported to an emergency room after suffering from seizures was found to have parasitic cysts in his brain.

The 18-year-old man’s parents said he had pain in his right groin, according to a case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The man had suffered from tonic-clonic seizures, formerly known as grand mal seizures. After a physical examination, doctors noticed he the man had swelling over his eye and appeared to be confused, a report from Dr. Nishanth Dev and S. Zafar Abbas of the ESIC Medical College and Hospital stated.

The man underwent an ultrasound and MRI, which revealed he had cysts in his cerebral cortex, brain stem, right eye and testes. The doctors diagnosed him with neurocysticercosis, which is defined as a “parasitic infection of the central nervous system and is caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium,” according to the World Health Organization [WHO].

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After the eggs hatch, the larvae can travel throughout the body and form cysts.

People can get neurocysticercosis “by swallowing microscopic eggs passed in the feces of a person who has an intestinal pork tapeworm,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This man, who was not identified, had a severe case and died two weeks later, the report stated. The man could not be treated with antiparasitic medications because it could have worsened the swelling in his brain. He was treated with antiepileptic medications and dexamethasone.

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WHO said neurocysticercosis is “prevalent mainly in developing countries” and found in Southeast Asia, parts of Africa and Latin America.