This is the first such case in the world.
A 64-year-old woman had an eight-centimetre parasite in her brain, which is common in pythons – the first case of the parasite being detected in humans and recorded in Australia. Guardian.
“Oh my God, you wouldn’t believe what I saw in that woman’s brain – it’s alive and twitching,” neurosurgeon Hari Priya Pandy told colleague Sanjaya Senanayake at Canberra Hospital, the Guardian quoted him as saying. Bondy sought help figuring out what to do with the eight-centimeter parasite and what treatment to use.
A medical team was quickly formed to determine the nature of the parasite, but it was only when it was taken alive to the laboratory of a scientist from the Commonwealth Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research that the answer came – “it’s an Opitascaris robertsii”, a parasite commonly found in pythons, the Guardian writes, which the scientist discovered upon seeing the parasite.
The 64-year-old woman was even collecting herbs and vegetables near her home, near a lake inhabited by pythons, when she did not know that she was going to get infected. The snake released the parasite through its feces onto grass and vegetables, according to doctors and scientists involved in the case, according to the Guardian.
According to Senanayake, the patient is recovering well and is being monitored regularly to find out if other larvae have invaded other parts of his body. This is a delicate treatment, as it is the first time a patient is treated against the parasite and some drugs cause inflammation when the larvae die.
This first world-famous case warns of growing dangers: like the coronavirus, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of new and emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals, the Guardian reported.
In fact, some rare cases go undiagnosed because doctors don’t know where to look, said infectious disease expert Peter Collingnon. “Sometimes people die without a cause being discovered,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.
“Hardcore explorer. Extreme communicator. Professional writer. General music practitioner. Prone to fits of apathy.”