Let's talk about neurocysticercosis

in StemSocial7 months ago

These days I have been reviewing information regarding the diseases that can be transmitted by animals to humans, and to a large extent, many of these are related to inadequate hygiene habits, poor sanitary conditions, and to a large extent to levels of poverty, which makes it a public health problem. However, there are others that are not necessarily the result of these characteristics.

For example, cysticercosis is a disease that can be contracted by eating meat contaminated with cysticercus larvae, but can be easily avoided. But, this disease is very particular, and I would like in this publication to be able to share with you information about it.

Obviously, people who are not in poor sanitary conditions can also be affected, and this will depend on the handling of the meat prior to consumption, therefore, no one is completely exempt from risks. So I invite you to continue reading, because what I have to tell you will surely be of interest to you.

Pixabay/ Author: geralt

Let's start, as usual, by defining what the disease is:

cysticercosis is an infectious disease caused by the presence of Taenia solium tapeworm larvae in human tissue. These larvae can invade various organs, including the brain, causing symptoms ranging from headaches to seizures.

And the latter is precisely what is most striking, because it can eventually be confused with other pathological entities, causing proper treatment to be delayed.

In my previous publication I talked about schistosomiasis, where I mentioned the life cycle of the causative agent of this disease, now, let's analyze the life cycle of the cysticercus.

  • Egg: The Taenia solium tapeworm deposits eggs in the small intestine of the human host, which are eliminated with the feces.

  • Larvae: Eggs develop into cysticercus larvae in the external environment and can infect animals such as pigs.

  • Cysticercus: When an infected animal is consumed raw or undercooked by a human host, the larvae are released in the intestine and migrate to various tissues of the body, where they develop into cysticerci.

  • Adult: In the human host, cysticerci develop into adult tapeworms, which can grow up to one meter in length, and live in the small intestine.

  • Egg: Adult tapeworms produce eggs that are eliminated with the feces and complete the cycle.

As you can see, knowing this, it is supposed to be easy to avoid the disease, but even so, it still occurs in large numbers in many people.

Public Domain

Here is an important point of this disease, the Symptomatology, which can vary widely from one person to another, and this will depend largely on the site or organ of the body in which the cysticerci are found. But within the symptoms we can find the following:

  • Seizures: The presence of cysticerci in the brain can cause seizures, which are involuntary and repetitive muscle contractions.

  • Headache: Headache is a common symptom of cysticercosis of the brain.

  • Muscle weakness: The presence of cysticerci in the muscles can cause muscle weakness and difficulty moving a part of the body.

  • Eye problems: Invasion of the eyes by cysticerci can cause vision problems, such as temporary or permanent blindness.

  • Abdominal pain: The presence of cysticerci in abdominal organs, such as the liver or pancreas, can cause abdominal pain and other digestive symptoms.

  • Neurological problems: The presence of cysticerci in the brain and spinal cord can cause neurological problems such as paralysis, ataxia and impaired balance.

  • Fever: In some cases, cysticercosis can cause fever and other general symptoms of infection.

At this point I should note that symptoms can vary in intensity and duration and *some may not appear until several years after infection.

Public domain image, where Neurocysticercosis can be seen

The most complex expression of this disease is neurocysticercosis, which can occur as follows:

Neurocysticercosis is a form of cysticercus infection that affects the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. It occurs when cysticerci are located in these tissues and can cause a wide variety of neurological symptoms.

Symptoms of neurocysticercosis may include seizures, headache, muscle weakness, eye problems, balance disturbances, paralysis and other neurological problems. In severe cases, neurocysticercosis can cause temporary or permanent blindness, mental disturbances and memory problems.

Even when treatment of this type of presentation is started and the cysticerci begin to die, the release of toxic substances causes an exacerbation of seizures. This expression is actually quite complex.

Pixabay/ Author: jarmoluk

A fundamental part of this disease, which fortunately is not complicated to treat, is the treatment of the disease. I should also note that treatment depends on the severity and location of the cysticerci and may include a combination of antiparasitic drugs and symptomatic therapy. The most commonly used are:

Praziquantel: This is an antiparasitic drug that is administered orally and is used to kill cysticerci in human tissues.

Albendazole: This is another antiparasitic drug that is also administered orally and is used to kill cysticerci in human tissues.

Symptomatic therapy: Depending on the symptoms, medications may be prescribed to treat headache, seizures, muscle weakness and other neurological problems.

Surgery: In severe cases or if the cysticerci are located in a place that cannot be treated with medication, surgery may be necessary to remove the cysticerci.

It is important to note that treatment of cysticercosis should be supervised by a medical specialist and that treatment may vary depending on the severity and location of the cysticerci. In addition, repeat treatment may be necessary to ensure that all cysticerci have been removed.

As you can see, surgery may even be required, depending on the involvement and location to remove these parasites, but it is certainly best to avoid the disease. Had you read about it? if so, I would like to know about it, and if you have something to add you can leave it in the comments so we can all benefit from it.


This was insightful. You Said it all.

Thank you for your comment.

Hello @apineda, an interesting topic, as you say, these are diseases that present very common symptoms, therefore it can be difficult for medical personnel to detect said pathology. For it is important to know the disease to be able to think about it and arrive at the diagnosis.

Excellent information, greetings.

It is not so easy to diagnose, especially considering that imaging studies will be required.

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Thank you for the support. It's weird, but I forgot to put the beneficiary to support the community, I thought I had.