Recently, a disturbing story about a British man was posted on the CNN website and spread around the internet in just days. The man was having chronic headaches for a year and different treatments failed to stop them. When he got an MRI, the doctors were shocked – there was a tapeworm living in his brain, and they said that it may have been there for 4 years!

The man was diagnosed with Sparganosis, a parasitic infection caused by the Spirometraerinaceieuropaei tapeworm. Dr. EffrossyniGkrania-Klotsas said that the worm moved from one part of the brain to the other, which is very unusual. Luckily, the doctors were able to remove the dangerous parasite surgically. The infection by the Spirometra tapeworm is common in cats and dogs, where the worm can reach up to 1.5 m. in length.

Eating one common ingredient can infect you with the parasite

Humans can get infected by tapeworms by eating pork, which often contains TaeniaSolium, a worm that infects the body in 2 ways:

  1. Through consumption of infected undercooked pork which can result in taeniasis, a condition in which an adult worm thrives in the intestines;
  2. Through contact with infected human or pig feces.

If the larvae enters the nervous system, the infection can cause neurocysticercosis, a serious brain infection which can result in epilepsy. According to the WHO, in countries where the infectionis common, one third of all epilepsy cases are people diagnosed withneurocysticercosis.