Live 8cm worm found wriggling in womans brain is removed by surgery

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An extraordinary medical case unfolded as a 64-year-old woman in New South Wales, Australia, underwent surgery to remove an 8cm-long parasitic roundworm from her brain.

The English woman had been experiencing a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, cough, and night sweats since January 2021.

As her condition evolved to include forgetfulness and depression by 2022, she was referred to Canberra Hospital for specialised care.

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A subsequent brain MRI revealed an 8cm motile helminth, a parasitic roundworm, living within a lesion in her right frontal lobe.

With no alternative, doctors conducted successful surgery to extract the worm, which measured 8cm in length and 1mm in diameter. This case is unprecedented in medical history and has been detailed in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The identified worm, a third-stage larva of the Ophidascaris robertsi nematode species, usually resides in the digestive systems of native Australian carpet pythons. Experts speculate that the woman inadvertently consumed the worm’s eggs by consuming contaminated edible grasses.

After hatching, the larvae made an unprecedented journey to her brain, possibly facilitated by her compromised immune system due to medication.

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Medical professionals initially struggled to diagnose her condition, attributing her symptoms to pneumonia and administering steroids.

As her condition deteriorated, further tests were inconclusive until an examination of her brain in January 2022 revealed the shocking presence of the parasitic roundworm. Surgery ensued, during which the worm’s unexpected movement surprised doctors.

The discovery marks the first known case of a snake-exclusive parasite infecting a human, shedding light on a previously unrecorded phenomenon.

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