Surgeons remove a live tapeworm from a California man’s brain

During a recently conducted emergency surgery, surgeons have successfully removed a live parasitic tapeworm from the brain of a 26-year-old Calif. man. The surgery has been successful and the Luis Ortiz, the operated patients, is currently recovering.

In August 2015, Luis Ortiz was on the verge of beginning his senior year at Sacramento State and visited Napa for spending some time with his mother. There, he got the most severe headache he had ever experienced. Luis’ mom was quick to dial 9-1-1, and soon he was rushed to the Queen of the Valley Medical Center by paramedics.

A brain scan done by doctors revealed that there was a tapeworm in Louis’ brain, which forced the doctors to carry out a surgery immediately. Later, doctors informed that when the tapeworm was first diagnosed, the 26-year-old man had only around half an hour to live.

The surgeons had to use a tool fitted with a camera for performing the emergency surgery. They found that a parasitic tapeworm larva was sitting inside a cyst in Louis’ brain, which blocked off circulation.

When the larva was pulled out, it was still wiggling. Louis still feels creepy when speaking about the incident and for him the fact that he had a parasite in his brain is still something very weird. The first question that came to Louis’ mind after he got to know about the actual cause of his headache was: how can a parasite get into his brain. Doctors told him that there are a few ways by means of which the parasite might have entered his body.

According to the doctors, Louis might have become a host for the parasite after having uncooked pork or going for a swim in the river or as a result of visiting a third world country. Louis said that he hasn’t done any of these three things in recent past, but added that he is also not sure about the time the worm has spent in his head.

Here, it must be mentioned that according to data provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has around 1,000 hospitalizations every year for pork tapeworm-induced brain infections.


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