What Is Cysticercosis (Taeniasis)?
- Cysticercosis is a disease where tapeworm larvae move out of the intestine and infect other organs like the brain, eye or heart.
- Seek medical attention for new onset of seizures, epileptic activity, stroke, and/or psychiatric problems.
- There are no home remedies for asymptomatic (80%) or symptomatic individuals with cysticercosis. Treatments for symptomatic disease may include anticonvulsants, antihelminthic, corticosteroids and surgery in some individuals. There are reported home remedies for intestinal tapeworms but not cysticercosis.
Cysticercosis is a disease where ingested tapeworm larvae move out of the intestine and infect other organs. Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) is the main cause of human cysticercosis. Food and water contaminated with porcine and human waste and poor hygiene are major risk factors.
Cysticercosis is not considered contagious. The incubation period is about three and a half years but ranges from 10 days to 10 years.
Symptoms and signs of intestinal tapeworms may include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea or constipation and for neurocysticercosis, may include nausea, vomiting, headache, lethargy, confusion, blurred vision, detached retina, swelling of optic disc, difficulty with balance, weakness and/or numbness and seizure(s).
Emergency medicine, Infectious disease, neurology and neurosurgery specialists are usually involved with diagnosis and/or treatment of the disease. A new onset of seizures, epileptic activity, stroke and/or psychiatric problems should be medically evaluated urgently or emergently.
Clinical history, physical exam, CT scan and/or MRI, biopsy and direct visualization of the parasites and serology are used to diagnose cysticercosis. There are no home remedies for cysticercosis. Treatment options include no treatment, antiparasitic drugs, corticosteroids, antiseizure drugs and surgical interventions; options vary according to the individual's condition.
Complications of the disease may include brain edema, hydrocephalus, chronic meningitis, vasculitis, paralysis, partial blindness, seizures, coma and death. The prognosis for the majority (80% or more) is good; if complications develop, the prognosis declines. By stopping contamination of food and water from pig and human feces, prevention of many infections can be prevented.