The parasitic worms known as brain tapeworms are on the rise all over the world, including the United States.
Brain Tapeworms are on the Rise – Parasitic Worm Growing in Numbers
According to WebProNews and Discovery Magazine, the parasitic worms known as brain tapeworms are on the rise all over the world, including the United States. While no one knows the exact numbers, according to Theodore E. Nash, who runs a clinic at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, 1,500 to 2,000 have been infected worldwide with brain tapeworms this past year. Brain tapeworms are larvae that work their way through your bloodstream to your brain, where they effectively form large white cysts. Once inside, a single tapeworm can produce 50,000 eggs. Side effects from brain tapeworms include violent seizures, brain damage, blindness, loss of motor functions, and, in some extreme cases, the individual suffering from the affliction may fall into a coma. Although there are treatments available to combat the infestation, they can often cause the person’s brain to swell.
Brain Tapeworms are on the Rise – Huge Infection in Latin America
Nash estimates that nearly 2,000 people in the United States are playing host to these parasites. Nash also suspects that almost 29 million people in Latin America could have brain tapeworms in their craniums right now. Nash and other neurocysticercosis experts have been traveling through Latin America with CT scanners and blood tests to survey populations, and in one study in Peru, researchers found 37 percent of people showed signs of having been infected. Nash and his colleagues published a review of the scientific literature and concluded that somewhere between 11 million and 29 million people have neurocysticercosis in Latin America.
Brain Tapeworms are on the Rise – Worldwide Disease
Tapeworms are also common in other regions of the world, such as Africa and Asia. In the interview, Nash said,
“Neurocysticercosis is a very important disease worldwide.”
According to Nash, the tapeworm larvae often get stuck in ventricles, or fluid-filled cavities, in the brain, sprouting grape-like extensions. In this way, the worm actively cloaks itself from immune cells. Protected and well fed, its cysts can thrive there for years. As a tapeworm cyst grows, it may push against a region of the brain and disrupt its function. It may get stuck in a passageway, damming the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This impasse can cause hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, along with dangerously high pressure. A resulting brain hernia can result in stupor, coma, or death.
To avoid brain tapeworms, wash your hands thoroughly after you have handled raw meat and make sure that your food is cooked thoroughly.
Brain Tapeworms are on the Rise.