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Worm in the brain (Neurocysticercosis), Cysticercosis and epilepsy

BY: Guest | Category: Health and Fitness | Post Date: 2008-10-10

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Recently I heard the case of a distant relative getting occasional epilepsy attacks, many people were saying that had worms in the brain, these people were also suggesting that it is getting very common in India and usually caused by eating undercooked or raw cabbage. Well that did not make a lot of sense to me because I had heard about tapeworm and round worms in stomach but never heard about a worn inside a brain. He is a very young in 20's so it was difficult to believe that something this bad was wrong with him, and that too by eating cabbages which I though was probably the healthiest food one can have.

Anyway I was wrong, these is indeed a parasitic diseases/infection called Cysticercosis which causes this to happen. It happens when the tapeworm larvae enter the body and forms cysts. When these cysts are found in brain this condition is called neurocysticercosis (Feels scary .. right!). The best information so far I have seen on the internet is located at this location http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/cysticercosis/factsht_cysticercosis.htm therefore I would suggest you to read it.

How can I get cysticercosis?
By accidentally swallowing pork tapeworm eggs and it spreads through food, water or surfaces contaminated with feces. Symptoms can occur months to years after infection, usually when the cysts are in the process of dying. When this happens, the brain can swell. See your doctor immediately. Infections are generally treated with anti-parasitic drugs in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes surgery. In India it is more common in northern parts.

Additionally read these references:
A very unhealthy, alarming and deadly disease is ringing alarm bells not just in Delhi but most of northern India. Entering the body and then sneaking into the brain undetected, invisible organisms are creating havoc with the urban Indian's nervous system. 13 per cent of the epilepsy cases coming to Delhi's hospitals are being triggered by cyst formation in vulnerable areas of the human brain. The fallout: Anything ranging from seizures, convulsions, nervous disorder, blackouts, vertigo, blindness, coma and even death. So if you thought that salads were healthy, think again. You've got be very careful in washing them. You need to wash them in running water at least thrice. Cabbage, spinach, etc, are increasingly grown in unhygienic conditions. Wash hands with soap and water after using the toilet and before handling food.

Translating that to numbers in Delhi alone leaves us with 5,00,000 cases of epilepsy, 10 per cent of which are due to neurocysticercosis. In some severe cases, people have even lost their eyesight due to inflammation of the optic nerves. It was traditionally believed that Cysticercosis only spreads through consumption of pork. Water and green leafy vegetables, especially those grown in fields where human faeces is found can also carry this disease.

Do not eat salads at roadside eateries or wedding functions. At home, vegetables like carrot, turnip, spinach, radish, coriander and cucumber should be washed thoroughly, preferably five or six times. Fruits and burgers sprinkled with cabbage outside home should also be skipped. Drink only bottled or boiled water or carbonated drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid drinks from vending machines or with ice-cubes. Also fruits and vegetables that have been peeled well.

4 Jul 2006: 400 worm cysts removed from youth's brain - TOI

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