Live Worm removed from woman's brain

31 Aug 2023 • A live parasitic roundworm measuring 80 mm in length was discovered in the brain of a 64-year-old woman in Australia. This parasitic worm, identified as a third-stage larval form of Ophidascaris robertsi, was surgically removed from the right frontal lobe of the patient. The life cycle of these nematodes typically involves small mammals and marsupials as intermediate hosts, which are then consumed by pythons. The adult worms reside in the python's gastrointestinal system and shed eggs in their feces. Despite having no direct contact with snakes, the patient's likely exposure to the parasite came from handling or consuming vegetation contaminated with python feces from a nearby lake area. The patient's symptoms, which began in January 2021, included abdominal pain, diarrhea, dry cough, and night sweats. Despite initial tests failing to identify parasites, a T-cell-driven hypereosinophilic syndrome was suggested, leading to treatment with prednisolone and mycophenolate. Due to potential false-negative parasite serology, the patient was also treated with ivermectin. Subsequently, over the course of several months in 2022, the patient experienced cognitive difficulties and worsening depression. Brain MRI revealed a lesion in the right frontal lobe, and an open biopsy unveiled the presence of a live, motile roundworm measuring 80 mm by 1 mm. Neurosurgery successfully removed the worm, and no other parasites were found during the procedure. Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases | Read full story

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