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Worms in the brain from undercooked bacon

Worms in the brain from undercooked bacon

An American's taste for soft, chewy bacon caused him to develop parasitic worms in his brain, doctors have discovered who presented their findings in… American Journal of Case Reports.

The clinical case of a 52-year-old American man with a history of migraine, type 2 diabetes, and obesity Featured in the post on March 7.

According to the doctors who examined the man, he began experiencing more and more migraines for four months. His headaches became stronger and more frequent and the medications he was taking were no longer effective.

Through multiple tests, doctors finally discovered that the man had brain damage from neurocysticercosis, or an infection with a parasitic worm, the pork tapeworm. Typically, these develop in the intestines of their human host (cysticercosis), but are known to be able to move into the nervous system when humans ingest their eggs, which are transmitted via faeces.

MRI images show damage to the patient's brain.

Image taken from the study


This type of infection is “usually acquired while traveling to a developing country.” […]. Doctors explained that it is very rare for a patient to develop neurocysticercosis without traveling, and such cases were thought to not exist in the United States.

However, the fifty-year-old had no travel history other than a cruise in the Bahamas two years ago, lived in a clean, modern home, had not visited a farm and had not changed his lifestyle or eating habits, as far as elements that contributed to his confusion. Doctors about the origin of parasites.

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During the medical investigation, the man stated that he always liked to eat undercooked bacon, without having time to wait for a temperature sufficient to eliminate the parasites.

According to doctors, everything indicates that the patient first had an intestinal infection caused by a tapeworm. Then, he will find himself eating, against his will, the eggs of these worms, perhaps because he washed his hands incorrectly after going to the toilet. The man thus infected himself with his own worm eggs, resulting in neurocysticercosis.

The man was finally able to receive treatment and his migraines eventually subsided.

According to the World Health Organization, between 2.56 and 8.3 million people worldwide may suffer from neurocysticercosis. In addition to migraines, the disease can cause epileptic seizures.