Cysticercosis

Cysticercosis Handout

CYSTICERCOSIS

Cysticercosis is a parasitic infection caused by the larval cysts of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium. These cysts can infect multiple tissues in the body. Neurocysticercosis, the disease that results when the infection occurs in the brain, is the major cause of adult seizures in Latin America and a leading cause of adult- onset seizures in low-income countries all over the world.

MRI of brain with multiple cysts from cysticercosis
MRI of brain with multiple cysts from cysticercosis

Cysticercosis is transmitted via the fecal-oral route. The process begins with one person eating infected, undercooked pork, acquiring a tapeworm infection, and then shedding eggs in his or her feces. If those eggs are ingested by this person or another human, cysticercosis ensues.

Web of Infection for cysticersosis
Web of Infection for cysticersosis

In this way, poor hygiene facilitates cysticercosis. Similarly, poor food safety practices perpetuate both the tapeworm infections and the cysticercosis transmission cycle. Through a combination of research, education and improved infrastructure, PAZ is working to reduce the disease burden of cysticercosis in Northern Peru.

Life cycle of T. solium. Click the image to se...

Life cycle of T. solium. Click the image to see it full-size (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention (PAZ) is working to control cysticercosis in Northern Peru. Please click here to donate!

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