This infection occurs after a person swallows tapeworm eggs. The larvae get into tissues such as muscle and brain, and form cysts there (these are called cysticerci). When cysts are found in the brain, the condition is called
The infection is treated with albendazole or praziquantel (drugs used to treat parasitic worm infections, called antihelminthic drugs). However, if a person has many cysts, antihelminthic drugs may kill many organisms, causing the brain to swell significantly.
And those cysts can end up in people's brains, causing a disease known as neurocysticercosis. “Nobody knows exactly how many people there are with it in the United States,” says Nash, who is the chief of the Gastrointestinal Parasites Section at NIH. His best estimate is 1,500 to 2,000.
The Spirometra tapeworm can live in humans for up to 20 years. A man in China experienced seizures and other mysterious symptoms for years before doctors finally found the cause: He had a rare parasite living in his brain, which had likely been there for more than a decade, according to news reports.
Seizures and headaches are the most common symptoms. However, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, difficulty with balance, excess fluid around the brain (called hydrocephalus) may also occur. The disease can result in death.
If the larval worm enters the nervous system, including the brain, it can result in a condition known as neurocysticercosis. Infection of this kind can often cause epilepsy once inside the brain.
Humans are the only host of threadworms. The adult worms live in the lower intestine, coming out of the anus at night to lay their eggs. Children with threadworms can get the eggs under their fingernails when scratching their itchy bottoms at night.
Nearly one-third of the 7.25 billion people on earth, including an estimated 60 million people in the United States, are chronically infected with the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.
Thanks in part to modern plumbing, people in the industrialized world have now lost almost all of their worms, with the exception of occasional pinworms in some children. Intestinal worms are properly called “helminths,” which most dictionaries will tell you are parasites.
These larval cysts infect brain, muscle, or other tissue, and are a major cause of adult onset seizures in most low-income countries. A person gets cysticercosis by swallowing eggs found in the feces of a person who has an intestinal tapeworm.
Parasite infections can be a cause of mental illness through biological and socio-environmental paths. The inflammation caused by parasite infections affects the brain and CNS via the blood brain barrier, activation of the vagus nerve and immune cells.
Any worms in your gut will eventually pass out in your poo. You may not notice this. To avoid becoming infected again or infecting others, it's very important during the weeks after starting treatment to wash your hands: after going to the toilet.
Signs and Symptoms
Parasites can live in the intestines for years without causing symptoms.
The death rate is over 97%. Only four people have survived out of 154 known infected individuals in the United States from 1962 to 2021.
Adult male worms are greenish-yellow to brown in color and up to 6.2 cm (2.4 in) long and 0.2 mm (0.008 in) wide. Females are darker brown to red to black in color and up to 9 cm (3.5 in) long and 0.25 wide (0.01 in).
The spread of worm infections
Threadworms are easily spread so the slightest contact can pass on the infection, which is why many adults end up with the same infection as their children. To halt the spread of worms, it's crucial to treat all members of the family – not just the youngsters!
You can get tapeworms from food or water that's contaminated with worms or eggs. If you swallow tapeworms, they'll grow up in your intestines. They can live in a person for 30 years.
It moves. If it doesn't wiggle, it's probably lint or a thread. The worm may be seen around the anus or on the child's bottom. It is especially active at night or early morning.
If left untreated, the intense itching and scratching associated with these infections will result in secondary bacterial infections. Some of these may be difficult to treat. Untreated people can continue to infect other people.
Depends on Your Gut Microbes : Goats and Soda Nearly 25 percent of people are infected with worms. New research suggests that gut microbes may be able to help in waging war against the parasites.
Possible complications. Intestinal worms increase your risk for anemia and intestinal blockages, as well as malnutrition. Complications occur more frequently in older adults and in people who have suppressed immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS infection.
For most people, treatment will involve taking a single dose of a medication called mebendazole to kill the worms. If necessary, another dose can be taken after 2 weeks.
The diagnosis of neurocysticercosis usually requires MRI or CT brain scans. Blood tests may be useful to help diagnose an infection, but they may not always be positive in light infections. If you have been diagnosed with cysticercosis, you and your family members should be tested for intestinal tapeworm infection.