Love eating otak-otak or uncooked meat such as sashimi? Be warned of worms in your otak (brain) because The Star reported that a man was saved by doctors after they successfully pulled out a 10-centimetre long live worm from his brain. Not intestine or stomach but brain − and it was still alive!
As reported by SCMP, the man had been living with a worm inside his head − not figuratively − for months and doctors derived that it was due to his love for grilled food.
Only wanted to be known as Liu, he was generally a healthy man until recent months when he started to suffer a series of epileptic seizures, a medical condition which causes uncontrolled jerking movements or a momentary loss of awareness.
The parasite in Liu’s brain was discovered by specialists at the leading hospital in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, China. The 10cm tapeworm is called Spirometra mansoni as revealed after a blood test.
“The worm was still alive when we took it out,” said Liu’s leading doctor, Dr Wang Chunliang, “it was springy, white all over, and could swim.”
The doctors believed that the parasite was found in Liu’s brain because some of the grilled food he ate lately wasn’t fully cooked. The president of Shanghai Neuromedical Centre, Guo Hui, told the Hong Kong daily that such cases were commonly found in places where the water was poorly treated or the people loved to consumed half or uncooked food. If the worm or its egg was not killed during the cooking process, it could enter the person’s body, fuse through the blood and travel to the brain or other organs.
“Because the brain receives nearly a quarter of the human body’s blood supply, the possibility of a worm reaching the brain and staying there is relatively higher than for other organs,” Guo said.