Woman complaining of back pain for years shocked to find deadly parasite in her spine | The Sun

DOCTORS were shocked to discover a women who complained of back pain had a deadly parasite lodged in her spine.

The 46-year-old from China, visited the hospital with pain which started at her lower back and radiated through her hip and down her leg.

The unnamed woman told doctors the pain had "gradually" got worse since it first began three years ago – and was now a six out of ten on the pain scale.

Scans performed at the Chinese PLA General Hospital, in Beijing, found a cyst growing on the woman's spinal cord.

Doctors later discovered the cyst was full of a deadly parasite called tapeworm Taenia solium.

When tapeworms are found in the central nervous system – on the brain or spinal cord – this is known as neurocysticercosis.

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When neurocysticercosis is on the spinal cord this is called spinal cysticercosis.

Neurocysticercosis, is a rare but fatal condition if not treated.

And studies suggest up to 7 per cent of those with the infection suffer a stroke.

Writing in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, doctors speculate the parasite travelled to the spinal cord through vessels connected to the spine.

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"Spinal cysticercosis is thought to be relatively rare, and spinal nerve root sleeve cysticercosis have not been reported before," the medics explained.

After the cyst was removed, the woman was treated with a deworming medication.

Three years after surgerty, her back pain had dropped from a six to a two, doctors said.

What are the symptoms of Neurocysticercosis?

Symptoms of neurocysticercosis can vary depending on where the lesions form, the extent of the infection, and the person’s immune response.

According to MedicalNewsToday, common symptoms and signs include:

  • seizures
  • chronic headaches
  • increased pressure in the brain

Other symptoms can include:

  • neurological problems that affect the function of the spinal cord, brain, or nerves
  • reduced ability to think and remember

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How do humans get Neurocysticercosis?

People get the deadly condition when they swallow T. solium eggs that are passed in the poop of a human with a tapeworm. 

The larvae get into tissues such as muscle and brain, and form cysts there.

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