Doctors amazed to find that a woman who had complained of a headache for the past seven years had tapeworm larvae in her brain.
The 25-year-old from Australia was prescribed migraine medication for the headache she endured two or three times a month for seven years.
But when her last headache lasted more than a week and she also suffered from more severe symptoms like blurry visions, she had an MRI in the brain that showed a suspected tumor.
However, when surgeons operated on her brain and removed the lesion, they found that the “tumor” was actually a cyst full of tapeworm larvae. CNN Reports.
A new study on her case of the The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene The study, published September 21, showed that her pain was caused by the tapeworm larvae that were taking up space in her brain.
The woman who worked as a barista had never traveled abroad, making this the first native case of the disease in Australia, the study said.
Previous Australian cases have come from immigrants or returning residents traveling to regions where the disease is endemic, such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The woman’s condition is known as neuocysticercosis and can cause neurological symptoms if larval cysts develop in the brain.
She is usually at very little risk of getting infected with tapeworm larvae, but it is believed that she accidentally ingested tapeworm eggs released by a carrier.
After the surgery, she made a full recovery without the need for medication.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people with the parasitic infection have swallowed eggs found in the feces of a person with an intestinal tapeworm.
After the removal, she did not need any further treatment.
According to the World Health Organization, neurocysticercosis is the leading cause of epilepsy in adults worldwide.
Tapeworms can live in a person’s intestines and cause an infection known as taeniasis.
The parasite is often transmitted when a person eats undercooked pork or comes in contact with food, water, and soil contaminated with tapeworm eggs.
Some can go through one person without the need for medication.
Medical chefs advise people to reduce the risk of infection by making sure their meat is cooked to a safe temperature, washing their hands with soap before eating, and only eating foods that have been cooked in hygienic conditions.
In February a man from Texas was diagnosed with newocysticercosis after suffering from headaches for more than a decade.
The man, known only as Gerard, visited his doctor after they became so severe that he vomited.