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What are the causes and treatment for worm egg in the brain?

Friday, 08 June 2007
Answered by: Dr. R. K. Sabharwal
Senior Consultant Paediatric,
Sir Ganga Ram Hospital,
New Delhi
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Q. My daughter is 4 years old. One day she started frothing and vomiting. We took her to the hospital and the doctor did a CT scan, which reported that there was a cyst of worm egg in the left part of the brain. Should I consult a neurologist? What should we do? What medicines will help? Someone told us that every medicine used for its treatment has side effects. I feel scared.

A.  The worm egg is the larval stage of the tapeworm that reaches the brain through the intestines and then through blood vessels, usually as a result of eating any contaminated food. This cyst, called neurocysticercus (NCC), usually creates problems when our immune system begins destroying it - in other words when the cyst starts dying or degenerating. It is a very common problem in our country, and majority of children with single NCC recover completely. In about 20% of patients a calcified spot may be left behind in the brain, which may pose a risk of convulsions in later life. Kindly be reassured that in your child's case she will not become mentally handicapped or paralysed. You should consult a paediatric neurologist who will prescribe medicines to prevent convulsions. The doses that are used will not cause any permanent side effects. The treatment may continue for 1-2 years depending upon when the cyst disappears or calcifies.

A.  The worm egg is the larval stage of the tapeworm that reaches the brain through the intestines and then through blood vessels, usually as a result of eating any contaminated food. This cyst, called neurocysticercus (NCC), usually creates problems when our immune system begins destroying it - in other words when the cyst starts dying or degenerating. It is a very common problem in our country, and majority of children with single NCC recover completely. In about 20% of patients a calcified spot may be left behind in the brain, which may pose a risk of convulsions in later life. Kindly be reassured that in your child's case she will not become mentally handicapped or paralysed. You should consult a paediatric neurologist who will prescribe medicines to prevent convulsions. The doses that are used will not cause any permanent side effects. The treatment may continue for 1-2 years depending upon when the cyst disappears or calcifies.

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