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A live worm was discovered in the brain of an Australian woman, a global first.

Physicians removed an eight-centimeter live worm from the brain of a 64-year-old Australian woman during surgery. This case is marking as the first example in the world of history. The doctor stated that the woman most likely ingested the eggs from contaminated foliage or hands. It led to the presence of the larva of Ophidascaris robertsi, a native Australian roundworm often observed in carpet pythons. An Australian neurosurgeon looking into a woman’s mysterious symptoms claims to have removed a live worm from the patient’s brain. At Canberra Hospital this year, surgeon Hari Priya Bandi was taking a biopsy via a hole in the 64-year-old patient’s skull. She used forceps to remove the parasite, which was 8 centimeters (3 inches) long.

What led to the worm’s discovery?

In late January 2021, the woman’s persistent dry cough, fever, night sweats, stomach discomfort, and diarrhea prompted her initial admission to a nearby hospital after experiencing these symptoms for three weeks.

When her symptoms worsened to include despair and forgetfulness, they sent her to a hospital in the capital of Australia. An MRI scan there discovered something strange in the patient’s right frontal lobe of the brain.

The parasite Ophidascaris robertsi, commonly hosted by carpet pythons in Australia. It spreads by being consumed by small animals and marsupials through the vegetation. The parasite then lives within the snake, ending the cycle, and at some point, pythons devour the same diseased animals.

Senanayake opined that in this instance, the patient was probably just the worm’s unintentional host. The parasite is extremely invasive, and it is likely that juveniles, or its larvae, were present in the woman’s lungs and liver, among other organs.

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Senanayake claimed that the incident demonstrated the increased risk of illnesses and infections spreading from animals to people, particularly as human populations continue to encroach on animal habitats. This is simply another indicator that we will see more new illnesses in the future, according to Senanayake.

He stated that over the past thirty years, researchers have discovered 30 new illnesses globally. Roughly 75% of these new infections originated as zoonotic diseases, indicating that coronaviruses were transmitted from the animal kingdom to the human domain.

There won’t be a pandemic like SARS, COVID-19, or Ebola since this Ophidascaris illness is not contagious between humans. Senanayake observed that as the snake and parasite are prevalent globally, it remains possible that other nations will identify additional cases in the years to come.

“This example also has a lesson about foraging. After handling the goods they’ve collected while foraging, foragers should wash their hands. Furthermore, you should thoroughly clean any wild ingredients used in salads or cooking.

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