Home News SURGEON LEFT ASTONISHED BY DISCOVERY OF LIVING WORM IN WOMAN’S BRAIN

SURGEON LEFT ASTONISHED BY DISCOVERY OF LIVING WORM IN WOMAN’S BRAIN

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According to reports, scientists have stated that a live 8cm (3in) worm was discovered in the brain of an Australian woman. The “string-like structure” had been removed from the patient’s damaged frontal lobe during surgery in Canberra the previous year.

Operating surgeon Dr. Hari Priya Bandi mentioned, “It was definitely not what we were expecting. Everyone was shocked.” The woman, aged 64, had experienced symptoms like stomach pain, coughing, and night sweats for several months, which later progressed into forgetfulness and depression.

She was admitted to the hospital in late January 2021, and a subsequent scan revealed an “unusual lesion within the right frontal lobe of the brain.” However, it was only during a biopsy performed in June 2022 that Dr. Bandi’s surgical procedure revealed the cause of her condition.

Doctors suggested that the red parasite could have been living in her brain for up to two months. The woman, who resided near a lake in south-eastern New South Wales state, is currently in good recovery.

As detailed in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, her case appears to be the first recorded instance of larvae invasion and development in the human brain, according to researchers.

The neurosurgeon who encountered the worm described the experience, stating, “I pulled it out… and it was happily moving.” Dr. Bandi recalled feeling something unusual when touching the brain area that had appeared abnormal in the scans. She used tweezers to extract the worm, which was lively and actively moving outside the brain.

Dr. Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious diseases expert consulted about the finding, shared, “Everyone [in] that operating theatre got the shock of their life when [the surgeon] took some forceps to pick up an abnormality and the abnormality turned out to be a wriggling, live 8cm light red worm.”

This unprecedented case underscores the potential risk of diseases and infections being transmitted from animals to humans. The roundworm, Ophidascaris robertsi, is common in non-venomous carpet pythons found throughout Australia. The woman is believed to have contracted the roundworm after gathering native grass called Warrigal greens near the lake. The area is also inhabited by carpet pythons.

Australian parasitology expert Mehrab Hossain suggested that the woman unintentionally became a host by using foraged plants contaminated with python feces and parasite eggs for cooking. Dr. Hossain emphasized that the invasion of the brain by Ophidascaris larvae had not been documented previously.

Dr. Senanayake, an associate professor of medicine at the Australian National University (ANU), stressed the importance of this case as a warning. He noted that over the last three decades, 30 new types of infections have emerged, with three-quarters being zoonotic—diseases transmitted from animals to humans.

The increase in human population encroaching on animal habitats raises concerns about disease transmission, as exemplified by cases like the Nipah virus and coronaviruses like SARS and MERS. Dr. Senanayake emphasized the need for robust infectious diseases surveillance by epidemiologists and governments.

Source: BBC

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