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Beware Of Brain Worms - Neurocysticercosis

What is neurocysticercosis?

Neurocysticercosis is defined as the parasitic infection of the brain which is caused by Taenia solium (the larvae form or eggs of the pork tapeworm).

How can one get the disease?
  • by eating undercooked pork meat - Perhaps you have already heard the warning that eating undercooked pork meat is just like welcoming worms into our body. This is basically true. The worse part is, some worms do not only live in our stomach, heart, intestines, muscles, eyes or liver as some of them even reach the brain which then results to neurocysticercosis. So why are some pigs infected with T. solium? T. solium are excreted from human feces (yup, it is humans!). In some places wherein there is very poor sanitation, there is a huge possibility that T. solium eggs contaminate the water supply therefore, when pigs take in contaminated food and water. The eggs that the pigs have consumed will hatch and of course, multiply. By the time humans eat these contaminated pork meat, we can be infected. This is why it is very important to make sure that the pork meat you are eating is well-cooked.

  • can be spread from one infected person to another - This is one scary fact - if the chef, cook or the person who is preparing food for us is infected by T. solium, we might also become the host of these worms.

  • by drinking contaminated water and eating T. solium carrying food

So why do they live in our brains?

It's simple - by the time we ingest the eggs of T. solium, they are already capable of hatching at once. Since they are very tiny "pests", they can easily go with the flow of the bloodstream. They are not very picky creatures as I can say as they are still satisfied and happy wherever they may land. Although the most common parts of the body where these parasites live are the stomach and the intestines. However, (as said in the earlier part of this post) there are some that are willing to take the long journey up to our brains. The ones which reach the brain invade a particular area of the it.

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