Recently, a 35-year-old woman from France arrived at the hospital accusing an electric-shock like, tingling feeling in her legs. Next to this, she complained about weakness in the same part of the body, balance lose and even falling over any time.
At first, doctors didn’t even imagine what could have been hidden inside the woman’s body. According to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine on July 11th, after thorough research, they discovered that tapeworm larvae were lurking in her spine.
How did the tapeworm larvae get there?
The woman declared that she lives in France and hadn’t been out of the country before she experienced the mentioned symptoms. However, she told doctors that, because of her symptoms, she had some hard time practicing horseback riding.
The report also mentioned that specialists performed an MRI and discovered a lesion on her spine. The wound was removed through surgery, but when the doctors performed further tests, they discovered that the problems were caused by an infection called Echinococcus granulosus.
This is the scientific name of a parasitic worm. Usually, the infection is found in dogs and farm animals, while humans can only be circumstantial hosts. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared that the tapeworm can be responsible for causing a disease known as cystic echinococcosis.
Humans who develop this condition find themselves in the unpleasant situation when larvae grow slowly in his or her body. Next to the mentioned symptoms, the infection can cause liver and lungs cystic lesions, affect the bones and central nervous system.
How is the infection spread?
Dr. Lionel Piroth, a specialist who treated the woman, declared for NBC News that the disease is very rare in France. It can be transmitted by dogs, cats, cattle and contaminated raw vegetables. Since the woman owns a feline and practiced horseback riding, chances are that she might have contracted it.
In any case, the patient received treatment. After the surgery, she was put on anti-parasitic medicines and nine months later, there was no sign of recurrence or other symptoms.