Doctors in China were shocked when an MRI revealed over 700 tapeworms living inside a man’s brain and chest.
Zhu Zhong-fa, 43, from east China’s Zhejiang province had started having symptoms a month before going to the doctors, and it’s been blamed on a hotpot he ate.
Medics had no idea what his symptoms were caused by when he decided to get help from the First Affiliated Hospital of College of Medicine, Zhejiang University.
When Dr. Wang Jian-rong conducted a medical check on Zhu, he was found to have taeniasis, a parasitic disease due to infection with tapeworms. What’s more? The doctor also discovered Zhu had over 700 tapeworms across his body.
Tapeworm eggs can be found in the feces of infected animals and can be spread to humans if infected meat is not washed or cooked correctly. The microscopic eggs can be killed by heating the meat to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit or by freezing it all the way through.
If the eggs are ingested, they will hatch and the tapeworms will migrate throughout the body, where they can grow to be up 26 feet long. The larvae develop protective cysts around themselves, which remain once the parasites outgrow them. Medication can be used to kill the worms, but there is nothing that can be done about the cysts, which can cause infections and permanent damage as they decay.
His body was utterly infected with tapeworms. The buggers were found to be living in his brain, lungs, and other parts of his body. The larvae of the worms had spread throughout his body via his bloodstream.
Dr. Wang explained:
“We tend to have a lot of meat-based meals in our daily lives, like roast lamb and roast pork. If it’s undercooked, the tapeworm eggs will stay alive when ingested. And if you have had the uncooked meat, there’s a chance that the tapeworms can travel through the body and inflict different diseases.”
Tapeworm infections are rare in the US but are fairly common in other parts of the world. Many don’t cause obvious symptoms and can be easily treated. But very occasionally, the worms can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious problems.
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