• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

Brainworm

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
2,496
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
This one is a bit yuck, from The Guardian , the linked article has pictures!

‘Oh my God’: live worm found in Australian woman’s brain in world-first discovery

Woman complained of forgetfulness and depression before doctors pulled out an 8cm roundworm normally found in pythons

It was a fairly regular day on the ward for Canberra hospital infectious diseases physician Dr Sanjaya Senanayake, until a neurosurgeon colleague called him and said: “Oh my God, you wouldn’t believe what I just found in this lady’s brain – and it’s alive and wriggling.”

The neurosurgeon, Dr Hari Priya Bandi, had pulled an 8cm-long parasitic roundworm from her patient, prompting her to call on Senanayake and other hospital colleagues for advice about what to do next.

The patient, a 64-year-old woman from south-eastern New South Wales, was first admitted to her local hospital in late January 2021 after suffering three weeks of abdominal pain and diarrhoea, followed by a constant dry cough, fever and night sweats.

By 2022, her symptoms also included forgetfulness and depression, prompting a referral to Canberra hospital. An MRI scan of her brain revealed abnormalities requiring surgery.
 
Here's how she seems to have contracted it -

The patient resides near a lake area inhabited by carpet pythons. Despite no direct snake contact, she often collected native grasses, including warrigal greens, from around the lake to use in cooking, Senanayake said.

The doctors and scientists involved in her case hypothesise that a python may have shed the parasite via its faeces into the grass. They believe the patient was probably infected with the parasite from touching the native grass and transferring the eggs to food or kitchen utensils, or after eating the greens.

Just poor hygiene and a spot of bad luck.

That is absolutely terrifying!
That a parasite usually inhabiting a snake could jump to a human with such devastating consequences is just chilling.
Parasites aren't fussy. Humans can be infected with the eggs of various animal parasites, especially worms from domestic pets.

Remember the Australian teenager who died from rat lungworm?

Poor sewage control can spread infections such as strongyloides, which is endemic in some rural and poorer American communities.
Guardian article on it -
A deadly parasite that burrows into the body through bare feet could be multiplying in this US community

Parasites are sooo interesting. :cool:
And yup, scary.
 
Same story, from the BBC, with video for those not sufficiently traumatised by the Guardian story:

Live worm found in Australian woman's brain in world first

In a world first, scientists say an 8cm (3in) worm has been found alive in the brain of an Australian woman.

The "string-like structure" was pulled from the patient's damaged frontal lobe during surgery in Canberra last year.

"It was definitely not what we were expecting. Everyone was shocked," said operating surgeon Dr Hari Priya Bandi.

The woman, 64, had for months suffered symptoms like stomach pain, a cough and night sweats, which evolved into forgetfulness and depression.

She was admitted to hospital in late January 2021, and a scan later revealed "an atypical lesion within the right frontal lobe of the brain".

But the cause of her condition was only revealed by Dr Bandi's knife during a biopsy in June 2022.

The red parasite could have been alive in her brain for up to two months, doctors said.

The woman, who lived near a lake area in south-eastern New South Wales state, is recovering well.

Her case is believed to be the first instance of a larvae invasion and development in the human brain, researchers said in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal which reported the case.

'I pulled it out... and it was happily moving'

The neurosurgeon who found the worm said she had only begun to touch the brain part that had shown up strangely in the scans when she felt it.

"I thought, gosh, that feels funny, you couldn't see anything more abnormal," said Dr Bandi.

"And then I was able to really feel something, and I took my tweezers and I pulled it out and I thought, 'Gosh! What is that? It's moving!"

"Everyone was shocked. And the worm that we found was happily moving, quite vigorously, outside the brain," she said.

[... the story continues on the BBC website - SB]
 
For the sake of completeness - I'm not sure what the "world first" is (possibly described in the article, but I'm not particularly inclined to read it again) - possibly "world first for Australia (!)", or world first for this particular species of worm, because we have this old thread from 2008 with a similar story from the US:

That's No Tumour - It's A Worm In The Patient's Brain!
 
For the sake of completeness - I'm not sure what the "world first" is (possibly described in the article, but I'm not particularly inclined to read it again) - possibly "world first for Australia (!)", or world first for this particular species of worm, because we have this old thread from 2008 with a similar story from the US:

That's No Tumour - It's A Worm In The Patient's Brain!
Yup, having come across such news stories before I thought it was the same patient!
 
Saw a prog years ago about the London school of tropical medicine where a man who had been to Africa (I forget where) had been complaining of headaches.
They had a look and found a beetle burrowing into his head.
They manage to flick it out and it pinged across the room.
Luckily they found it.
 
I wish I'd not clicked on this topic ...especially after having spent some time just before getting her looking at youtube videos of Australian Pythons after seeing the latest post on our Large Snakes topic. No I didn't need to see this at all!
 
I wish I'd not clicked on this topic ...especially after having spent some time just before getting her looking at youtube videos of Australian Pythons after seeing the latest post on our Large Snakes topic. No I didn't need to see this at all!
To be fair, my opening words were "this one is a bit yuck", on a thread called "brainworm", so my conscience is clean!
 
so my conscience is clean!
Oh I wasn't blaiming you! It's entirely my own naivety/ stupidity and getting earworm muddled up with brain worm and carrying on reading when I discovered it wasn't duh
 
Back
Top