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Study finds tapeworms in brain of man with migraines who ate partially cooked bacon

via Pixabay

A 52-year-old man suffering from migraines, obesity and diabetes was found to have parasitic tapeworm larvae in his brain, which doctors determined was caused by his lifelong preference for undercooked bacon.

Brain imaging revealed cysts consistent with neurocysticercosis, a condition caused by the larval form of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium.

“Cysticercosis is a condition caused by infection with the larval form of Taenia Solium, a pork tapeworm that uses pigs as an intermediate host,” the study read. “Humans become infected when they ingest water or food contaminated with tapeworm cysts.”

Tests confirmed the diagnosis of cysticercosis through detection of antibodies.

The man’s history of eating soft, undercooked bacon likely led to taeniasis from an intestinal tapeworm, and subsequent autoinfection and cysticercosis in the brain through improper handwashing after infection.

“Taeniasis occurs when consuming undercooked pork and the larval cysts embedded within, while cysticercosis is contracted when humans ingest eggs found in the feces of other humans with taeniasis,” researchers wrote.

“It can only be speculated, but given our patient’s predilection for undercooked pork and benign exposure history, we favor that his cysticercosis was transmitted via autoinfection after improper handwashing after he had contracted taeniasis himself from his eating habits.”

His case demonstrates how consuming undercooked pork can result in tapeworm infection and cysticercosis symptoms like headaches, even in individuals without foreign travel.

“A person infected with a tapeworm who does not wash his or her hands might accidentally contaminate food with tapeworm eggs while preparing it for others,” the CDC said.

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