CYSTICERCOSIS (SIS-tuh-sir-KO-sis) of Brain or Neurocysticercosis (NEW-row SIS-tuh-sir-KO-sis) is the most common cause of seizures or epilepsy in an adult and the most common parasitic infection of the brain.
It is caused by the encysted larval stage of the "Pork Tapeworm" (Tenia solium).
Neurocysticercosis is more comon in developing countries and is endemic in Mexico and Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, India, and East Asia.
It has been widely reported in India, more so from the northern parts, and is one of the leading causes of pediatric epilepsy.
Neurocysticercosis is a far more important public health problem than human tape-worm infestations. It is endemic in certain communities and regions of the world due to poor sanitation, use of sewage for fertilizer, and poor breeding methods of the pigs.
Contrary to popular belief neurocystericosis is not exclusive to pork eaters and the incidence among vegetarians is high, especially salad eaters.
Generally tapeworm are parasites that reside in the intestinal tract of human beings. They are long, flat worms that have a head armed with suckers and hooks. Tapeworms can sometimes grow as much as 15 to 30 feet or 10 meters in length and the largest tapeworms grow up to 59 feet or 18 meters. There are variety of these worms that infect human beings and they include:
- Beef Tapeworm or Taenia Saginata
- Pork tapeworm or Taenia Solium
World Health Organisation(WHO) estimates that almost 50 mllion people worldwide are infected by tapeworms and of these 50,000 die due to the disease every year.
The pork tapeworm infests the brain and cause neurocysticercosis. Its prevalence in some of the developing countries exceeds 10%. In these regions it accounts for up to 50% of cases of late-onset epilepsy.
Adult onset seizures or epilepsy is twice as common in the developing regions of these countries as in industrialized countries such as the United States.
There is no sexual predilection for the worm infestation. It is unusual for the disease to manifest in a child due to the long incubation period of the worm.
Neurocysticercosis / Cysticercosis of Brain / Pork Tapeworm - References
- Parasites - (http://www.cdc.gov/Ncidod/dpd/parasites/ cysticercosis/factsht_cysticercosis.htm)
- Bern C, Garcia HH, Evans C, Gonzalez AE, Verastegui M, Tsang VC, et al. Magnitude of the disease burden from neurocysticercosis in a developing country.Clin Infect Dis 1999;29:1203-9.
- Sarti E, Schantz PM, Plancarte A, Wilson M, Gutierrez IO, Lopez AS, et al. Prevalence and risk factors for Taenia solium taeniasis and cysticercosis in humans and pigs in a village in Morelos, Mexico. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1992;46:677-85.
- Medina MT, Rosas E, Rubio-Donnadieu F, Sotelo J. Neurocysticercosis as the main cause of late-onset epilepsy in Mexico. Arch Intern Med 1990;150:325-7.
- International League Against Epilepsy. Relationship between epilepsy and tropical disease. Epilepsia 1994;35: 89-93.
- Eucestoda - (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapeworm)
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Avinash Ramani. "Neurocysticercosis / Cysticercosis of Brain / Pork Tapeworm - Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment FAQs". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/neurocysticercosis.htm. (accessed Nov 30, 2023).
Avinash Ramani. 2017. Neurocysticercosis / Cysticercosis of Brain / Pork Tapeworm - Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment FAQs. Medindia, viewed Nov 30, 2023, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/neurocysticercosis.htm.
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