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Undercooked pork can cause serious seizures!

Taenia solium, the pork tapeworm is fortunately much rarer than his relative Taenia saginata but unfortunately much more dangerous. It is found all over the world where people eat raw or undercooked pork, making it less likely for the jewish or muslim community to pick them up.

One can contract the disease in two ways:

  • a) one can swallow other peoples T. solium eggs (via contaminated food, or oral - anal sex).
  • b) from swallowing one's own eggs in food contaminated with one's poo.

Infection with the adult worm is mainly harmless.

When the larvae (cysticerci) start spreading around the body, the patient is mostly symptom free. The larvae encyst in muscles and subcutaneous tissues, so the early findings are little subcutaneous nodules.

Cerebral cysticercosis caused by larvae in the brain normally presents as epilepsy, up to 3 years after initial infection.

The adult worm can be killed with an antihelmintic and a saline purge, but the larvae are a different matter: Praziquantel is known to reduce the size of cerebral cysts and reduce symptoms, but during treatment better have a neurosurgeon ready, as things could burst...

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