Tapeworm eggs found in brain of man who ate undercooked bacon

15 March 2024, 08:38 | Updated: 15 March 2024, 09:22

Humans become infected when they ingest water or food contaminated with tapeworm cysts
The 52-year-old man had medical history of migraines. Picture: American Journal of Case Reports

By Flaminia Luck

A man from the US - who had a habit of eating undercooked bacon - has been found with tapeworm eggs in his brain.

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Scans revealed tapeworm larvae in the brain of the 52-year-old man who had a history of migraines, according to the American Journal of Case Reports.

The man, who is unnamed, admitted to a habit of eating "lightly cooked, non-crispy bacon" for most of his life.

He visited his doctor after his migraines recently became worse.

Scans showed the tapeworm larval cysts in his brain, which cause cysticercosis.

Cysticercosis is a condition caused by the the larval form of a pork tapeworm which use pigs as a host.

Humans become infected when they ingest water or food contaminated with tapeworm cysts, the journal states.

Doctors believe the man infected himself due to "improper handwashing".

"Given our patient’s predilection for undercooked pork and benign exposure history, we favor that his cysticercosis was transmitted via autoinfection after improper handwashing after he had contracted taeniasis himself from his eating habits," the journal stated.

The journal said the man has since made a full recovery after responding to anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory medication.

READ MORE: Ultra-processed food linked to 32 different health problems including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and early death

Neurocysticercosis is virtually nonexistent in areas of the world that have banned pork consumption, further highlighting the strong link between swine and this disease, the journal added.

Cysticercosis remains prevalent in modern Asia, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Oceania, particularly in developing countries and areas where pigs are raised as primary food sources.

The man had no recent travel to endemic countries or contact with pigs.