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Parasitic Worm Lodged in 64-Year-Old Woman’s Brain Trigger…


A 64-year-old Australian lady turned out to have a parasitic worm in her brain, generating several strange symptoms.

The patient, a New South Wales-based English woman, has had a "mystery illness" since January 2021. She first had diarrhea and a stomach ache, then a dry cough and night sweats. Her health became worse over time, resulting in forgetfulness and depression, according to Fox News.

After an MRI scan at Canberra Hospital, the woman's right frontal lobe lesion showed a motile helminth or parasitic roundworm. The sole course of action to address the condition was surgery.

A Mysterious Condition

In June 2022, neurosurgeon Hari Priya Bandi discovered a startling finding while conducting a biopsy at Canberra Hospital. Using forceps, he plucked the parasite out. The worm measured three inches and was identified as an Australian endemic roundworm.

Dr. Bandi called the case "a mystery" since it was unusual and presented a considerable challenge to the medical team.

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The finding raised many concerns about the worm's origin and the route it followed to get to the woman's brain. Medical authorities suspect the lady ate snake-feces-contaminated grass and accidentally consumed the worm's eggs. The medicine she was taking, which compromised her immune system, may have impacted how the larvae that had emerged from the eggs within her body and made their way to her brain.

First Case in Humans

In addition to shocking medical specialists, the woman's condition also revealed fresh research directions. When infectious disease specialists and veterinary scientists examined the worm, they discovered that it was a third-stage larva of the nematode species Ophidascaris robertsi. The woman's case is the first time the roundworm has ever been discovered in a person; typically, it is seen in pythons, according to The Guardian.

The patient's condition is progressively improving, but the trauma has impacted her mental health, per Sky News. Her symptoms improved six months after the worm was removed, as reported in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases' September issue.

Health professionals are still monitoring her condition and looking into the chances that an underlying medical issue that compromised her immune system contributed to the larvae's establishment.

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