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Cysticercosis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by : James S. Pendergraft

The pork tapeworm is a parasite which is the main cause of Cysticercosis. The scientific name of the tape worm is Taenia solium. This is a type of disease which affects the main nervous system but there are many patients who have not experienced any symptoms. This situation where the person does not show any symptoms is known as asymptomatic. This particular tapeworm is an endemic species which is very prominent in parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia. Due to increased foreign visitors to the country, the United States has experienced more and more of the Cysticercosis diseases and has thus made its medical checkups very tough.

The cause of the Cysticercosis is quiet interesting. The dissemination of the pork tapeworm is the main reason behind it. When the eggs of the pork tapeworm is being ingested by the human, it later hatches in the stomach and commutes to different parts of the body. It usually stays or even penetrates deeper into the intestines. As it commutes, it also enters the blood stream of the body and thus the blood is infected. The infected blood leads to the formation of cysts. The location of cysts depends upon the part where the pork worm has travelled. The number of cysts also varies to a large extent having an impact on the intensity of the disease.

Often there is no symptom of the Cysticercosis. This is however, only in the initial stages. The symptoms are seen months or even years after the pork worm is actually ingested. Mainly, the central nervous system is affected. The other symptoms include fatigue, vomiting and nausea, confusing feelings when the situation is very much clear, headaches, laziness and seizure. Seizure is the most prominent among all the symptoms and is also seen in almost 65 to 70 percent of the patients.

Very often Cysticercosis is diagnosed with the help of a CT scan or MRI scan of the brain. There are rarely any other prominent symptoms which can give an indication. A scan of the brain is done as the nervous system is impacted.

The treatment used for Cysticercosis greatly depends upon the body part which is affected by the cysts. The count of cysts and the impact of them are also taken into consideration. The treatment process is custom made for each patient and it may include anthelmintic medicines, anticonvulsant medications and in worse cases a surgery is required. Asymptomatic patients who do not show a sign of Cysticercosis have no necessity to be treated. However, there are arguments which want to know of the treatment is necessary or no.

Once the medications are used, the effect of them is evaluated on the basis of a case. The patient may need more than a single course of medicine to deactivate and remove the cysts from the body. Surgery is required when the cysts have accumulated in the nervous system and the affect is very harsh. Even the eye impact must be treated by surgical removal of the cysts as no medicine can work on this sensitive area.