A recent case study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday reports the death of an 18-year-old teen from a tapeworm infestation in his brain. As CNN reports, the teen complained of seizures after visiting an emergency room in an Indian hospital, which led to an examination that revealed the presence of the parasites.
After entering the hospital, the medical team noticed that the teen had swelling over his right eye and appeared confused. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan revealed multiple well-defined cysts on his brain stem, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, eye, and right testicle. The team diagnosed him with neurocysticercosis, which is an infection caused by cysts that contain the larvae of a pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. These larvae hatch from their eggs and enter the brain and muscle tissues, which leads to the formation of cysts.
The seizures the teen experienced were tonic-clonic in nature, which means they create violent muscle contractions and can cause sufferers to lose consciousness. In addition, the teen experienced pain in his groin for approximately a week, as per USA Today.
Due to the number of cysts and their locations, the doctors did not give the teen antiparasitic medications, which can exacerbate inflammation and brain bleeding and also cause a loss of vision. They opted instead to administer dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, along with antiepileptic medications.