8cm python parasite pulled from woman’s brain

NEW SOUTH WALES: Australian medical professionals have made a discovery involving a live roundworm measuring 8 centimetres in length, which was found within the brain of a woman from New South Wales.

This extraordinary case marks the world’s first instance of such an occurrence. The Australian National University and Canberra Hospital have jointly disclosed the astonishing details of this case.

In 2021, a woman aged 64 residing in southeast NSW was hospitalised for three weeks of diarrhoea and abdominal pain, followed by an unrelenting dry cough, fever, and night sweats. Subsequently, she developed symptoms of depression and memory lapses. In 2022, an MRI scan conducted by a neurosurgeon at Canberra Hospital revealed an anomaly in the right frontal lobe of her brain.

A neurosurgeon at Canberra Hospital found an unexpected eight-centimetre roundworm during an operation. The worm’s identity was confirmed by parasitology experts through its appearance and molecular studies.

Infectious disease expert and co-author of the study Sanjaya Senanayake while talking about the cases, “This is the first-ever human case of Ophidascaris to be described in the world.”

“To our knowledge, this is also the first case to involve the brain of any mammalian species, human or otherwise.”

Senanayake emphasized that this unprecedented case underscores the risk of diseases and infections transferring from animals to humans. This is particularly critical as the coexistence of people and animals intensifies, leading to greater proximity and increased overlap of habitats.

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