A BRITISH man has been found with a tapeworm living in his BRAIN for FOUR YEARS, baffled
doctors have revealed.
Brain scans of the 50 year old victim Chinese medicine may be the reason why the parasite had managed to crawl inside the man's brain, and travel 5cm from the right side to the left.
The rare 1cm-long worm, which has never been found before in the UK, left the 50-year-old man
with headaches, seizures, altered smell ability, memory flashbacks and problems, plus increasing
pain on his right-hand side.
Clueless as to what was wrong with him, doctors tested him for tuberculosis, lime disease, syphilis
and even HIV, after MRI scans showed lesions in his brain.
It wasn't until scientists at St Thomas' Hospital in London took a biopsy of his brain that they finally
diagnosed his affliction.
Dr Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas, study author from the department of infectious disease at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, said: "We did not expect to see an infection of this kind in
the UK, but global travel means that unfamiliar parasites do sometimes appear."
Only 300 of the parasites have been found over the last 60 years, with most discovered in South East
Asia, China and Japan. It is believed it can be caught by eating infected food or via a Chinese medical remedy for sore eyes that includes raw frog.
The team which examined the worm, led by Dr Hayley Bennett, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said the victim was from a Chinese background and had lived in the UK for 20 years but visited China often.
As well as the Chinese medicine risk, it is also believed to be transmitted by eating infected crustaceans from lakes or eating raw meat from reptiles and amphibians, they said. The patient is now well and scientists believe that by gene-mapping the worm, new treatments can be found for tapeworm infections.