Tapeworms are flat segmented worms that can live in the intestines of some animals. Animals can become infected with these worms when grazing in pastures or drinking contaminated water. Eating undercooked meat from infected animals is the main cause infection in people.
-Hunger or loss of appetite
-Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Tapeworms can invade the brain if they get into the body. They can move throughout the eyes, tissues, and the brain. A British man was examined in 2013 and Dr. Effrossynie Gkrania Kostas examined the patient and found a tapeworm in his head. Up until that patient was examined in 2013 a tapeworm of the genome had never been seen in the UK.
4 years before the patient in the UK discovered he had a tapeworm in his brain, a team of doctors at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge had a patient who was the first patient to experience symptoms. The patient was of Chinese descent and had recently visited China, the parasite is known as Spirometra erinaceieuropaei is also found in Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.
Gkrania-Klotsas said, “when the patient returned, he had all new symptoms”. The worm was pushing on a different part of the brain, then the last time. The worm had to be removed surgically, because there is no known medication that can be taken that is effective in treating the infection.
The infection is so uncommon that only 300 cases were reported between 1953 and 2013. The adult tapeworm Spirometra occurs in the intestines of dogs and cats, but these animals spread the larvae of the worms through feces. From the feces the eggs and larvae of the worms can contaminate the water supply and can survive on small crustaceans, snakes, or frogs.
These worms can infect a human as well, if direct contact is made with infected animals or ingestion. If a person is infected with this worm, it can cause cysts which can cause blindness, paralysis, tissue damage, or even death. There are two different types of the worm infections that can affect the brain.
1. Consuming undercooked pork that comes from infected pigs, result in taeniasis, which is an adult worm that resides in the intestines of the pig and can affect the brain in humans.
2. This is the larval form, the second type of infection. Coming in contact with an infected animal or human can affect many tissues in the human body. This type of infection can result in neurocysticercosis if the larvae enter the nervous system. This infection can cause epilepsy if it gets into the brain.
Poor hygiene plays a big role in becoming infected with tapeworms. If you fail to wash your hands after using the bathroom, you could even be infection yourself. You could consume the eggs of an adult worm if you don’t wash your hands. Keeping clean will help reduce the risk of becoming infected.
Until recently, the treatment for the tapeworm is surgery, but Bennett and her team has found that praziqantil could be effective. Also, certain drugs used to treat cancer could be potential treatments. Although there is no definite treatment except the extraction through surgery.