Scientists find rare tapeworm living in man's brain for 4 years
Found in a man's brain: A rare tapeworm that has been living there for four years,
Scientists in Britain removed the parasite and are studying it, researchers said today (Nov 21).
It's the first time such a thing has been reported in Britain. Only 300 cases have been reported since 1953.
The tapeworm, Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, had travelled five centimetres from the right side of the brain to the left.
It causes sparganosis, an inflammation of body tissues that results in seizures, memory loss and headaches.
The patient is now “systemically well", the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said.
"We did not expect to see an infection of this kind in the UK, but global travel means that unfamiliar parasites do sometimes appear," said Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas of the department of Infectious Disease at Addenbrooke’ s NHS Trust.
The team managed to sequence the rare parasite's genome for the first time, allowing them to examine potential treatments.
“Our work shows that, even with only tiny amounts of DNA from clinical samples, we can find out all we need to identify and characterise the parasite,” Gkrania-Klotsas added.
The doctor said the DNA study underlined the importance of a global database of worm genomes, to help identify and treat parasites.