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Eating Bad Pork Gave Teen Deadly Tapeworms in the Brain

2 weeks after being admitted into an Indian ER, he was dead
By Richard Kemeny,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2019 12:50 PM CDT
This file photo shows a section of a human brain.   (AP Photo/David Duprey)

(Newser) – A teenager who went into the hospital with groin pain died because of a tapeworm infestation in his brain. The 18-year-old had gone to an Indian hospital with swelling over his right eye, and was experiencing regular seizures that caused him to fall unconscious, reports CNN. An MRI revealed cysts all over his cerebral cortex and brain stem that were caused by parasitic tapeworm larvae that crawled out of eggs and embedded into his brain tissue. The tapeworm likely came from the man having ingested infected pork, reports Live Science. This sort of infection is commonplace in developing countries, though this case was particularly severe.

Doctors decided not to treat the patient with antiparasitic meds, as the damage was too extensive and risked him losing his vision. Two weeks after he arrived in the ER, he was dead. The infection, neurocysticercosis, is the main cause of seizures around the world and each year over 1,000 related cases happen in the US. If not treated, these tapeworms can live in the body for many years, per ABC. (It wasn't fatal, but a California man had his own brush with a tapeworm.)

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