Aug 18, 2003
What is the treatment of neurocyctocercisis? What is the pathology and the mechanism with which it effects us? Is it common in which people?
Response from Dr. Pierone
Neurocystercercosis refers to brain infection with the larval stage of the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium). This infection is the most common parasitic brain infection worldwide and is fairly common in rural areas in South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia where there is coexistence of pigs and humans in suboptimal hygienic conditions. Infection results when humans ingest food contaminated with eggs of the pork tapeworm.
Treatment of neurocystercercosis is generally with albendazole (Albenza) or praziquantal (Biltricide). Corticosteroids are generally administered as well to reduce the brain inflammation that may occur when treatment is started. Sometimes surgery is necessary for large brain cysts that are blocking the ventricular system in the brain. Seizures are one of the main complications of this condition, so anti-seizure medication is often necessary as well.
I did find some cases of HIV-infected patients with neurocystercercosis in the medical literature and one report suggested rapid progression in one person with HIV-infected, but incidental infection noted for others.
The link below shows an MRI scan of neurocystercercosis (white circle).
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