Pork Tapeworm Linked to Epilepsy

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Yesterday various discussions erupted on social media following Neurologist and Neurosurgeon, Dr. Yusuf said that consuming popular ‘hot’ pork causes epilepsy if not properly cooked.

We have heard that pork is associated with a significant risk of several chronic conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Hepatitis E, Multiple Sclerosis, Yersinia and several types of cancer.

Tanzanian Dr Mathew decided to clarify the situation on his Twitter account page, as the issue was causing a stir on the internet.

“I have seen a lot of discussions when @millardayo, @cloudstv, and @cloudsfmtz posted about the link between pork and epilepsy.
The cause of epilepsy is NEUROCYSTICERCOSIS, not pork.
Let me speak briefly to my people.” Dr said

According to him, epilepsy occurs only when person ingestion of pork contaminated with eggs of Taenia Solium, and that is the main way through which the parasites enter the body and then finally to the brain.

“If the pork is not well prepared and somebody eats it part of the tape worm’s eggs and larvae go into the body and proceed to the brain” Dr Matthew said

He explained that once in the brain, the larvae cause neurocysticercosis, a parasitic disease of the nervous system which can lead to severe complications in the brain, including seizures; coma or even death.

“Neurocysticercosis is one of the most common causes of patient complications. It should be noted that neurocysticercosis – transmitted after consuming undercooked pork” he added

According to the UN health agency, 50 million people are affected by epilepsy and more than 80 per cent of them live in the developing world.
“Thorough case finding, better diagnosis and treatment, and public health information campaigns are crucial to effectively control and break the life cycle of the parasite,” WHO said.
“Neurocysticercosis is the most frequent preventable cause of epilepsy in the developing world,” WHO said. “It is a common infection of the human nervous system and a growing public health concern.”
“Humans become infected after consuming undercooked food, particularly pork, or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs, or through poor hygiene practices,” it said.

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