Doctors at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center were startled to find the culprit causing numerous and serious medical problems for a Phoenix woman. Her physicians suspected a brain tumor, but discovered instead a parasitic worm eating her brain.
“We’ve got a lot more cases of this in the United States now,” said Raymond Kuhn, professor of biology and an expert on parasites at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Upwards of 20 percent of neurology offices in California have seen it, ABC News reports.
According to Kuhn, who has traveled to study this parasite, cysticercosis is a big problem in some parts of Latin America and Mexico where health codes are hard to enforce and people may frequently eat undercooked pork.
Kuhn said that as people travel across the border with Mexico, so does the tapeworm. One person infected with a parasite, who also has bad hand washing habits, can infect many others with eggs.
“These eggs can live for three months in formaldehyde,” said Kuhn. “You got to think, sometimes, a person is slapping lettuce on your sandwich with a few extra add-ons there.”
All the more reason to check the restaurants you frequent for their participation in the federal E-Verify program.
And remember this outbreak that closed Valley swimming pools last summer?