“Somewhere between 11 million and 29 million people have [tapeworms] in Latin America alone.” – NIH
Tapeworms: How to tell if you have one
Dec 14, 2019
Dr. Manny Alvarez | Fox News
A tapeworm is a parasite that you can get if you eat the infected and undercooked meat of an animal.
So you could have gotten a tapeworm by eating something. It’s hard to know if you have a tapeworm on your own, but the most common symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and jaundice.
When you go to the bathroom, look at your stools. If you see white pieces in there, you might have a tapeworm infection.
Your appetite might change. If you’re eating a lot more but weighing a lot less, then it might be a tapeworm.
Some kinds of tapeworms cause anemia symptoms because they eat all the Vitamin B12. This is a problem because your body needs that vitamin in order to make red blood cells.
If you have no sense of touch, trouble walking, and feel stiff, that’s a sign of anemia. Paired with the other symptoms, you might just have a tapeworm.
Tapeworm eggs look like little grains of rice or seeds. If they hatch, the larvae can sometimes crawl up your intestines and live there. This causes cold-like symptoms, such as coughing.
In many situations, however, most people don’t even know they have tapeworms. There can be almost no symptoms.
When doctors diagnose tapeworms, they do it via a stool test … Read more.
“Tapeworms are flat, segmented worms that can invade the digestive tracts of people and animals. They’re parasites, which means they need a host body in order to survive.” – WebMD
Sushi-Lover Pulls 5 1/2-Foot-Long Tapeworm Out Of His Rectum
January 19, 2018
Put away the soy sauce and wasabi and get ready to be grossed out.
A Fresno man and avid lover of sushi — more specifically, salmon sashimi — pulled a 5 1/2 foot-long tapeworm out his own body. It had been growing inside of him for some time.
Dr. Kenny Banh recounted the gruesome story as a guest on a recent episode of “This Won’t Hurt A Bit,” a medical podcast that dissects odd or unusual health cases with experts.
As Banh tells it, about two months ago he was working in the emergency room at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, Calif., when a young man walked in complaining of bloody diarrhea. But, unlike other patients who come in with similar ailments of abdominal pain and cramping, this guy also asked to be treated for worms.
The request seemed odd to Banh, but then the anonymous young man handed him a plastic grocery bag. And that’s when Banh saw it.
“I take out a toilet paper roll, and wrapped around it, of course, is what looks like this giant, long tapeworm,” Banh said on the Jan. 8 podcast.
Apparently, the man was sitting on the toilet when the worm began wriggling its way out of him. He thought he was dying, Banh said. Going through the man’s mind? ” ‘Oh, my goodness, my guts are coming out of me!’ ” Banh recalled.
As the man began pulling on the worm, and it continued sliding out inch by inch, the creature began moving — and rather than faint, he felt relieved. They weren’t his entrails gooping out, but rather a tapeworm, he realized.
When rolled out on the floor of lobby of the emergency department, Banh says, the parasitic worm — officially called a helminth — was as long as he is tall: 5 feet, 6 inches … Read more.
“Tapeworms get into your body when you eat raw or undercooked meat. Beef tapeworms are rare in the U.S., but they can get into the food supply when people live close to cattle and conditions aren’t clean. You’re more likely to get tapeworms from undercooked pork in the U.S.” – WebMD
Tapeworms Inside People’s Brains
Parasitic worms leave millions of victims paralyzed, epileptic, or worse. So why isn’t anyone mobilizing to eradicate them?
May 15, 2012
Discover – Theodore Nash sees only a few dozen patients a year in his clinic at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
That’s pretty small as medical practices go, but what his patients lack in number they make up for in the intensity of their symptoms.
Some fall into comas. Some are paralyzed down one side of their body. Others can’t walk a straight line. Still others come to Nash partially blind, or with so much fluid in their brain that they need shunts implanted to relieve the pressure. Some lose the ability to speak; many fall into violent seizures.
Underneath this panoply of symptoms is the same cause, captured in the MRI scans that Nash takes of his patients’ brains.
Each brain contains one or more whitish blobs. You might guess that these are tumors.
But Nash knows the blobs are not made of the patient’s own cells. They are tapeworms. Aliens.
A blob in the brain is not the image most people have when someone mentions tapeworms. These parasitic worms are best known in their adult stage, when they live in people’s intestines and their ribbon-shaped bodies can grow as long as 21 feet.
But that’s just one stage in the animal’s life cycle. Before they become adults, tapeworms spend time as larvae in large cysts. And those cysts can end up in people’s brains, causing a disease known as neurocysticercosis.
“Nobody knows exactly how many people there are with it in the United States,” says Nash, who is the chief of the Gastrointestinal Parasites Section at NIH. His best estimate is 1,500 to 2,000.
Worldwide, the numbers are vastly higher, though estimates on a global scale are even harder to make because neurocysticercosis is most common in poor places that lack good public-health systems. “Minimally there are 5 million cases of epilepsy from neurocysticercosis,” Nash says.
He puts a heavy emphasis on minimally. Even in developed nations, figuring out just how many people have the illness is difficult because it is easy to mistake the effects of a tapeworm for a variety of brain disorders. The clearest proof is the ghostly image of a cyst in a brain scan, along with the presence of antibodies against tapeworms.
“When tapeworm eggs get into your body, they can move to other places outside your intestines, like tissues and organs, and form larval cysts. This is called an invasive infection.” – WebMD (Read more)
The closer scientists look at the epidemiology of the disease, the worse it becomes. Nash and other neurocysticercosis experts have been traveling through Latin America with CT scanners and blood tests to survey populations.
In one study in Peru, researchers found 37 percent of people showed signs of having been infected at some point.
Earlier this spring, Nash and colleagues published a review of the scientific literature and concluded that somewhere between 11 million and 29 million people have neurocysticercosis in Latin America alone. Tapeworms are also common in other regions of the world, such as Africa and Asia.
“Neurocysticercosis is a very important disease worldwide,” Nash says … Read more.
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