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Hector H. Garcia

, and Robert H. Gilman

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date: 03 March 2021

Cysticercosis, infection by larvae of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium, is the most common helminthic infection of the human central nervous system. It accounts for up to 30% of all seizures and epilepsy in endemic countries, and travel and immigration now lead to its more frequent presentation in industrialized countries. Ingestion of raw or undercooked pork can lead to infection with the T. solium cysticercus, formerly known as ‘Cysticercus cellulosae’, which is an encysted immature tapeworm. Once attached to the person’s small intestine, the head, or scolex, evaginates from the cysticercus, anchors in the intestinal mucosa and develops segments (proglottids) to become an adult tapeworm. Only by ingesting T. solium ova can humans develop cysticercosis. The commonest syndromes are late-onset epilepsy or intracranial hypertension. Diagnosis is based on brain imaging studies (CT or MRI) and supported by highly specific serology.

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