Recently, according to media reports, doctors removed 8 cm long live roundworms from the brain of an Australian woman. The 64-year-old woman from New South Wales, Australia, began experiencing a range of symptoms such as stomach pain, cough and night sweats since 2021, and gradually became forgetful and depressed. After a series of examinations, the true cause was finally found in the craniotomy in 2022. When the surgeon used forceps to pick up the creeping, 8-centimeter-long reddish worm, everyone was shocked. According to analysis, this is a roundworm commonly found in pythons, and it may have survived in patients for up to two months, belonging to the world's first human infection of snake roundworms.
In nature, parasites are a universal presence. They are like "hiddens" in life, quietly residing in the human body, and sometimes even invading people's brains. So, how do parasites get into the brain? What do they do to the brain? And how to prevent these potential "brain stealers"? Let's demystify the parasite and explore the scientific secrets of pest control.
Parasitic infection refers to the pathological condition in which parasites invade the human body (host) to survive, reproduce, and cause damage to host tissue cells.
Based on morphology, parasites can be broadly divided into protozoa, worms, and arthropods. They can cause both parasitic diseases as pathogens and as vector-borne diseases, and play a pivotal role in human infectious diseases. Some of them live in the host for a long time, such as roundworms, hookworms, etc.; Some live in the host for a short time, such as parasites transmitted by mosquitoes, flies, etc. These parasites have unique living habits, and some can even "travel" in the human body, which will have a serious impact on people's health.
In the woman in the above case, the brain infection of the python roundworm is a roundworm with the python as the terminal host, which matures and lays eggs in the python, which is excreted with the python feces. After these roundworm eggs are eaten by some rodents, they can develop into worms in small rodents. Occasionally, other animals or humans are infected by mistakenly eating insect eggs.
The brain is the most mysterious, important and fragile part of the human body, because it has the protection of the blood-brain barrier, and generally has the ability to "invade all poisons". But people who regularly eat raw food may give opportunities for parasitic infections, because some parasites can invade the brain. Protozoa such as Entamoeba histolytica, Plasmodium falciparum, Toxoplasma gondii, Carnithosporidium, etc., and helminths such as flukes, nematodes, tapeworms, etc., can enter the brain through blood circulation, lymphatic system, extravascular space, intervertebral foramen, conjunctiva and nasal mucosa.
The presence and reproduction of parasites in the brain triggers a range of adverse reactions. They may damage brain tissue, compress nerves, cause inflammation, etc., and may present with symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, and in severe cases, life-threatening.
By understanding how the parasite spreads and how it affects it, we can take effective preventive measures. Here are some scientific pest control strategies:
For parasites that are more harmful, we must always be vigilant and strengthen our understanding and awareness of parasite-related knowledge. In this way, we can better protect ourselves and our families and enjoy a healthy and happy life.