Case of woman with parasitic worm in her brain discovered in Australia: ‘commonly found in snakes’

Case of woman with parasitic worm in her brain discovered in Australia: ‘commonly found in snakes’

I have been to the hospital several times and each time neither diagnosis nor treatment seemed to resolve. For a 64-year-old woman from New South Wales, Australia, a live parasitic worm was extracted from her brain. The discovery was made during a recent examination at Canberra Hospital by neurosurgeon Hari Priya Pandey, who extracted an eight centimeter parasitic nematode from the woman. as he narrated it guardianThe woman had been presented to the hospital for the first time at the end of January 2021, because in the previous three weeks she had been suffering from abdominal pain and diarrhoea, followed by a persistent dry cough, fever and night sweats.


And in 2022, the woman’s symptoms worsened, adding temporary memory loss and depression. At that point, doctors at the local hospital advised her to be admitted to the best-equipped facility in Canberra, where an MRI revealed some abnormalities that required surgery. But even then, the woman’s prognosis seemed incomplete: “The neurosurgeon certainly didn’t think he’d find a writhing worm,” says the hospital’s infectious disease doctor, Sanjaya Senanayake – neurosurgeons regularly deal with brain infections. , but this was a one-time discovery in his career. No one expected it.” When the worm was finally discovered, the hospital medical team met to determine treatments based on the type of roundworm.

It was therefore necessary to send the still-living worm to the laboratory of the Xero Research Centre, which identified the parasite as Ophidacaris robertsi, commonly found in snakes. But how did it end up in a woman’s brain? The patient lives in a lake area where these animals are abundant, but although she had no direct contact with snakes, she would often gather herbs and vegetables along the shores of the lake to cook them. The woman’s case will be the world’s first discovery of this type of parasite in humans, and it has been documented in the September issue of the scientific journal Ophidacaris robertsi. Now the woman is successfully recovering after the operation and is constantly monitored.

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