Tapeworm removed from Austin man’s brain after months of headaches

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(KXAN/Ascension Seton)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin man knew something was wrong when he fainted in the middle of a soccer game last year.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW

He’d been dealing with awful headaches and “feeling off” but his tumble during soccer prompted him to check it out.

An MRI revealed the concerning surprise culprit — a tapeworm in his brain.

He was shocked, naturally.

Surgery was the next step and Dr. Jordan Amadio, neurosurgeon at Ascension Seton, said the man’s case was “rare and truly extraordinary.”

After a complex surgery, the patient no longer has headaches and is back to work and feel normal.

While the patient — whose name hasn’t been released — doesn’t know where the tapeworm may have been contracted, he says he thinks it may have been the result of eating pork in Mexico.

Interestingly, a tapeworm had also been found in his sister’s brain years earlier.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the official term for a tapeworm infection is “Taeniasis.” The CDC says “Humans can become infected with these tapeworms by eating raw or undercooked beef or pork. People with taeniasis may not know they have a tapeworm infection because symptoms are usually mild or nonexistent.”

If you believe you may have a tapeworm infection, the Mayo Clinic recommends visiting your doctor for various tests that can confirm infection.

The Mayo Clinic says that some infected people never even need treatment and the tapeworm leaves the body on its own. Common treatments for ordinary cases include oral medication. Treatment for more invasive infections include corticosteroid treatment and, as in the Austin patient’s case, surgery.

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