More than 700 worms found in man's brain after he ate undercooked pork

A builder was found to have hundreds of parasitic worms in his brain after eating undercooked pork.

Zhu Zhong-fa, 43, went to a hospital in Zhejiang, China, foaming at the mouth, and drifting in and out of consciousness.

An MRI scan revealed he had more than 700 worms writhing in his brain and chest in a condition known as neurocysticercosis.

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This occurs when parasitic larvae in undercooked pork build-up in the body, eventually invading the central nervous system and triggering seizures.

Mr Zhong-fa admitted to eating a hotpot a month ago he was “unsure about”, Newsweek reported.

He was treated with anti-parasitic drugs last week, which seem to be working well so far.

Mr Zhong-fa, who lives in the city of Hangzhou, arrived at the First Affiliated Hospital of College of Medicine at Zhejiang University around a month after his symptoms began.

With doctors initially unable to find what was wrong, scans later revealed the source of the problem.

The tapeworms entered the man's brain after he ate undercooked meat. Source: Getty, file photo
The tapeworms entered the man's brain after he ate undercooked meat. Source: Getty, file photo

“There are multiple presences of space-occupying lesions in the patient's brain,” Dr Wang Jian-rong told Pear Video.

“It's also in the lungs and fills up the muscles inside the chest cavity.”

The medic added there was already signs of damage to Mr Zhong-fa’s organs, which he blamed on the undercooked pork.

“We tend to have a lot of meat-based meals in our daily lives” Dr Wang Jian-rong said.

“If it's undercooked, the tapeworm eggs will stay alive when ingested.

“And if you have had the uncooked meat, there's a chance the tapeworms can travel through the body and inflict different diseases,” LADbible reported.

Mr Zhong-fa has reportedly been treated with drugs that kill the parasite and protect his organs from further damage.

He is awaiting tests that will decide the next course of treatment.

What is neurocysticercosis?

Neurocysticercosis occurs when the parasitic larvae Taenia solium invades bodily tissue from the intestine, and build ups in the central nervous system, muscles, skin and eyes.

Most cases comes about from eating undercooked pork.

The parasitic larvae Taenia solium were found in the man's brain and chest. Source: Getty, file photo
The parasitic larvae Taenia solium were found in the man's brain and chest. Source: Getty, file photo

Sufferers may also have swallowed microscopic eggs passed in the faeces of a person with an intestinal tapeworm if they do not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet.

Eggs in the stools can also lead to the contamination of water, produce or surfaces. 

Once ingested, these hatch and penetrate the intestinal wall, reaching other parts of the body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims neurocysticercosis is a leading cause of adult epilepsy worldwide but is “entirely preventable”.

It is thought to cause around 1,000 hospitalisations a year in the US, with most cases being brought over from regions where the disease is common, like Latin America. Neurocysticercosis’ prevalence in the UK is unclear.

Some experience no symptoms, while others endure seizures, headache, loss of balance and brain swelling, the UK government reported.

In rare cases, the condition can be fatal.

Neurocysticercosis can be prevented through proper hand washing, cooking pork thoroughly and only drinking clean water.

Treatment often involves medication to reduce swelling in the brain and kill the worms.

–– Yahoo Style UK

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