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Case Report: Neurocysticercosis Acquired in Australia

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  • 1 Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia;
  • 2 Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Melbourne Veterinary School, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia;
  • 3 Department of Pathology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia;
  • 4 Department of Radiology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia;
  • 5 Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia;
  • 6 The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia

ABSTRACT

Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a disease caused by infection of the central nervous system with the larval stage of the tapeworm Taenia solium. This disease is endemic in many parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where animal husbandry practices are common such that pigs reared for human consumption ingest feces from humans infected with T. solium. Neurocysticercosis is rarely acquired in economically affluent regions, including North America, Central Europe, Japan, and Australasia, and in countries where pork consumption is discouraged by religious or social practices. In these countries, NCC is usually diagnosed in immigrants or returning travelers who have spent time in endemic regions. Here, we report a case of NCC in a 25-year-old woman presenting with worsening visual symptoms in association with headache, diagnosed previously as a migraine with visual aura. This person had always lived in Australia and had never traveled overseas to a country endemic for T. solium. The unusual features of the clinical presentation and epidemiology are highlighted to raise physicians’ awareness that attention needs to be paid to the risk of autochthonous infection occurring in non-endemic countries.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Daniel Forster, Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, 300 Grattan St., Parkville 3050, Australia. E-mail: dpforster@gmail.com

Financial support: S. M. is the recipient of a Doherty Institute Internal Grant for research in parasitology. A. V. K. and R. B. G. are supported by bodies including the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Authors’ addresses: Daniel Forster, Dong-kyoon Ko, and Douglas Johnson, Victorian Infectious Diseases Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia, E-mails: dpforster@gmail.com, dongkyoon.ko@mh.org.au, and douglas.f.johnson@mh.org.au. Anson V. Koehler and Robin B. Gasser, Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Melbourne Veterinary School, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, E-mails: anson.koehler@unimelb.edu.au and robinbg@unimelb.edu.au. Sevastjan Kranz, Department of Pathology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia, E-mail: sevastjan.kranz@mh.org.au. Christine Goh, Department of Radiology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia, E-mail: christine.goh2@mh.org.au. Benjamin Fleming and Mohammed Awad, Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia, E-mails: benjaminmarkfleming@gmail.com and mohammed.awad@mh.org.au. Siddhartha Mahanty, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia, E-mail: siddhartha.mahanty@unimelb.edu.au.

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