Doctors discover an 8cm live worm inside a woman's brain in Australia
When a 64-year-old Australian woman was taken to the hospital for brain surgery, neurosurgeon Dr. Hari Priya Bandi did not expect to extract an 8 cm long and alive parasitic roundworm from her.
This case, which for doctors is the first in the world of a live worm inside the human brain, was also studied by animal parasitology experts at a scientific research agency.
Molecular tests confirmed it was Ophidascaris robertsi, a roundworm commonly found in pythons, according to a press release from the Australian National University and Canberra Hospital.
The researchers say the patient lived near a lake and although she had no direct contact with the reptiles, it is likely she got the worm through warrigal, a native leafy vegetable she often cooked.
Doctors and scientists think that a carpet python could have spread the parasite through its feces to greens, which the patient then touched, contaminating food or cooking utensils.
How the worm was discovered
The woman was first admitted to a hospital in late January 2021 after suffering three weeks of abdominal pain and diarrhoea, followed by a persistent dry cough, fever and night sweats.
A few months later, she lost her memory and even went into depression and was taken to a hospital in the Australian capital, where a scan revealed something unusual in the right frontal lobe of her brain.
This case in Australia is completely different from that of people who have tapeworm larvae in their brains.
This condition is known as neurocysticercosis, which can cause neurological symptoms when larval cysts develop in the brain.