Definition of Neurocysticercosis

Neurocysticercosis: Infection of the brain by the larval form of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium. Neurocysticercosis is a form of cysticercosis and is the most common worm infection of the central nervous system. The disease is most prevalent in developing countries, in which it can be a serious public health problem.

The symptoms depend upon where and how many cysticerci are found in the brain. Seizures, and headaches are the most common symptoms. Confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, difficulty with balance, and swelling (edema) of the brain (hydrocephalus) may occur, together with increased pressure on the brain. Neurocysticercosis can form giant cysts in the brain.

Medical treatment with corticosteroids and the cesticidal drugs albendazole and praziquantel can be very helpful. Some patients also may need a shunt to relieve the pressure on the brain.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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