Australia:- A young woman in Australia was found to have tapeworm larvae lurking in her brain, a very unusual diagnosis considering she had no risk factors for the condition. It’s believed to be the first “locally acquired” case of the disease in Australia, that is, in someone who hadn’t traveled out of the country. The 25-year-old woman went to the hospital after experiencing headaches for a week. She was no stranger to headaches, she had experienced migraines with visual “auras” on a regular basis since the age of 18. But her latest headache seemed different. It didn’t go away when she took painkillers, which usually cured her headaches. And her visual symptoms were more severe, with her vision becoming blurry at times. An MRI of her head revealed a single brain lesion, which doctors suspected was either a brain abscess or tumor. But when doctors performed brain surgery to remove the lesion, they got a surprise. The lesion was really a cyst, and it wasn’t made of human tissue. Further tests revealed that the cyst contained tapeworm larvae.
The woman was diagnosed with neurocysticercosis, a parasitic disease that occurs when a person ingests microscopic eggs from a pork tapeworm. When the eggs hatch, the larvae can travel throughout the body, including the brain, muscles, skin, and eyes, where they form cysts. After the cyst was removed, the woman did not need further treatment for the infection. Exactly how the Australian woman caught the disease is a mystery. She was born in Australia and had never traveled overseas. However, people can catch neurocysticercosis from close contact with a person who is infected with the pork tapeworm. However, the woman did not report having a previous or current contact from an endemic area.