A 31 year old woman in Texas, United States of America who has been complaining of debilitating headache s in has been found to have Tape Worms lodged in her brain where they have laid their eggs.
The diagnosis was made by Infectious disease specialists at the Methodist Dallas Medical Centre who referred her to Neuro-surgeons for surgery.
The operation was successful and the woman is expected to recover fully.
Tapeworm occurs worldwide but most common in Mexico, countries in Central and South America, the Philippines and some other countries in South-east Asia. About 20 million persons are affected annually all over the world with about 50,000 deaths.
It is caused by two parasites: Taenia solium and Taenia saginata
Symptoms are uncommon but could be severe if they occur. They include convulsions, loss of sensation, paralysis, severe headache, blindness and several others.
Transmission is by eating uncooked or partially cooked pork or beef. Man passes the eggs out with stool and sheep/pigs get infected by eating contaminated grass or feaces respectively. The eggs then develop in the sheep or pig to the intermediate stage, man gets infected if the affected animal is eaten without being properly cooked.
Promoting factors include in-proper disposal of feaces, poor sanitation facilities, poor food hygiene and use of feaces as fertilizer.
The woman is suspected to have contracted the disease when she visited her native country, Mexico, where she may have eaten poorly cooked meat.