Man’s brain tapeworms and migraines ’caused by undercooked bacon’


Tapeworm eggs found in the brain of a man who suffered severe migraines are believed to have been caused by undercooked bacon.

The 52-year-old American consulted doctors after his usual migraines became more frequent and severe and were not responding to medication.

Scans revealed a number of tapeworm eggs in his brain.

The man was diagnosed with neurocysticercosis – caused by taeniasis – a form of infection from larval cysts of the pork tapeworm, which can get into tissue such as the muscles and brain.

Researchers said the man had not travelled to any “high-risk areas”.

“On further questioning, the patient denied eating raw or street food but admitted to a habit of eating lightly cooked, non-crispy bacon for most of his life,” said the study in the American Journal Of Case Reports.

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Researchers said they believe the infection was “transmitted via autoinfection after improper handwashing after he had contracted taeniasis him­self from his eating habits”.

The man’s migraines improved when he was given anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory medication.

People are most at risk from such infections through poor handwashing or by ingesting contaminated food or water.

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“It is historically very unusual to encounter infected pork in the United States, and our case may have public health implications,” the authors added.

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The US Centers For Disease Control And Prevention states on its website: “Although uncommon, cysticercosis can occur in people who have never travelled outside of the United States.

“For example, a person infected with a tapeworm who does not wash his or her hands might accidentally contaminate food with tapeworm eggs while preparing it for others.”