At 4 a.m. The 38-year-old was shaking, and then was able to get up from the bed. He was also confused by the incident and “spoke nonsense.”
After having seizures due to the infection of a parasite within his brain, a Boston man is getting better. What is the cause of the infection? The larval cysts of the tapeworm.
A case study that was recently released in The New England Journal of Medicine includes a man aged 38 who is not publicly identified. According to the study his wife called 911 after he got out of bed around four a.m. after which he was “shaking.”
The investigators noted that “He seemed disoriented and was speaking nonsense.'” The man appeared “combative and confused” when police arrived and “actively fought being placed in the ambulance,” according to the police.
The man, who moved into Boston from the remote area of Guatemala around 20 years prior He was healthy and fit and was taking none of the prescribed medications, never drinking alcohol and never taking nicotine or illegal substances, according to researchers. Also, he didn’t have any previous history of seizures from his parents.
In in the medical facility, the man “remained disoriented and agitated,” and was then intubated to protect his airways. Doctors conducted a chest X-ray and it was found to be normal. However, an exam of the neurologic system and brain imaging revealed the issue and the man was suffering from cysticercosis, which is a tapeworm infection. The illness affected the brain, causing the patient to become unconscious and suffer additional seizures.
What is cysticercosis? How can the condition affect you?
Cysticercosis can be described as a parasitic tissue infection that is caused by the tapeworm Taenia solium’s larval cysts. (As an aside the those cysts that are larval can be described as “enclosed sacs holding the parasite’s immature stage.”) In the words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the infection could cause damage to the brain, muscle or other organs (CDC). The patient had neurocysticercosis which is a type of cysticercosis which develops when cysts that grow as larvae develop in the brain.
The cysts are a major cause of seizures among adults in a majority of low-income countries, as per the CDC and with Latin America having some of the highest rates of infection. Every year, around 1,000 cases of neurocysticercosis occur throughout the United States, with the states of New York, California, Texas, Oregon, and Illinois having the highest number of cases. Neurocysticercosis is among the more serious form of cysticercosis, as per by the CDC.
Cysticercosis can be contracted through many ways.
The reason for the neurocysticercosis in this patient has not been identified. However, cysticercosis can be caused by the consumption of T. solium eggs found in the poop or stool of a person with the type of tapeworm according to CDC. If a person suffering from tapeworm doesn’t wash their hands prior to cooking food, the eggs from the tapeworm are transmitted to others as is the usual situation.
If you suffer from a T. Solium Tapworm disease or are within the residence of someone who is suffering from one is more likely to take in parasite eggs and develop cysticercosis. Since eggs of tapeworms are released through drinks, food or even feces-contaminated surfaces this is the situation.
How do you tell whether you have cysticercosis?
Based on the CDC the CDC, cysticercosis may cause skin lumps to develop and, if they reach the spinal cord or brain it can trigger seizures and headaches. The cysts could float around the eye, creating hazy or blurred vision, eye swelling or retinal detachment in some rare instances.
It’s important to remember that symptoms of cysticercosis may manifest several months or even years after a person has been diagnosed with the disease symptoms, and they usually occur when the cysts begin to disappear according to the CDC. The brain or the other tissue surrounding the cyst could grow during this time, which can cause discomfort. “At initially, the condition is somewhat indolent,” the case study’s authors stated, “since the eggs develop cysts that do not trigger a clinically meaningful immune response for roughly five years.”
The patient in this instance was admitted to the hospital’s intensive treatment unit and was prescribed levetiracetam, an epilepsy medication. The patient was also prescribed albendazole, a tapeworm drug, and praziquantel for a period of two weeks, and an extremely high dose of the steroid prednisone over four weeks. In the course of five days, he was admitted to inpatient hospital, he received his discharged.
The man was initially taken to the ER for seizures about three years ago but hasn’t had seizures since, as per the report.
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