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Eating Undercooked Pork Proved Fatal for Teen Whose Brain Was Infected by Parasitic Tapeworms

Everyone is usually told not to eat uncooked or undercooked meat, especially chicken and pork.

Unfortunately for one teenager, he found out why too late.

A New England Journal of Medicine case study revealed on Thursday that an 18-year-old Indian boy arrived at a Faridabad hospital complaining of seizures, swelling of his right eye and pain in his right testicle.

Doctors conducted an MRI on the boy’s brain, only to find that his brain was riddled with cysts. The doctors called them “Well-defined cystic lesions”.

The MRI scans below show the affected brain tissue throughout the cerebral cortex.

Nishanth Dev, M.D., S. Zafar Abbas, M.D./ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, India/NEJM.org

In addition to his brain, the study stated:

“Well-defined cysts that contained echogenic nodules were seen on ultrasonography of the eye and the right testis.”

It was determined that the boy had neurocysticercosis. This condition occurs when a person ingests pork tapeworms or Taenia sodium eggs.

Doctors had to weigh out the pros and cons of treating the teenager.

They could have treated him with anti-parasitic medications, but they chose not to. This could have caused worsening inflammation around the cysts which could have caused further issues, including swelling and pressure on his brain and loss of his eyesight.

Doctors did treat him with the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone, as well as anti-seizure medications.

Despite their treatment, the boy passed away two weeks later.

According to the World Health Organization:

“Humans become infected with neurocysticercosis from consuming undercooked food — usually pork, by water contaminated by tapeworm eggs, or through poor hygiene practices.”

This illness is common in Latin America and Asia. However, there have been recent outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Written by Christine Akridge

Nerd. Aspiring author and artist. Fan of all things true crime and horror. She would rather spend her days reading, writing, or painting over anything else, except gaming with her husband and son.