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Business News/ News / World/  In a world's first, Australian doctors find a live parasitic worm in woman's brain
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In a world's first, Australian doctors find a live parasitic worm in woman's brain

Doctors extract live parasitic roundworm from woman's brain, a first-ever human case. Found in snakes, kangaroos, and pythons.

AFP noted that researchers have clarified that this type of roundworm is commonly found in kangaroos and carpet pythons but not in human beings. (Photo; Canberra Health)Premium
AFP noted that researchers have clarified that this type of roundworm is commonly found in kangaroos and carpet pythons but not in human beings. (Photo; Canberra Health)

Australian doctors have successfully extracted a live and moving parasitic roundworm, typically found in snakes, from a woman's brain.

As reported by AFP, Following the woman's struggle with memory lapses, perplexed doctors conducted an MRI scan. The scan revealed an unusual abnormality at the frontal part of her brain, leading to the astonishing discovery of an eight-centimetre (three-inch) roundworm known as Ophidascaris robertsi.

AFP noted that researchers have clarified that this type of roundworm is commonly found in kangaroos and carpet pythons but not in human beings.

"This is the first-ever human case of Ophidascaris to be described in the world," said infectious disease expert Sanjaya Senanayake.

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

According to researchers, it is believed that the woman contracted the infection while gathering edible shrubs in proximity to her residence. These shrubs were presumably tainted with parasitic larvae, which had been expelled in snake feces.

The parasite, which appeared as a "stringlike structure" on brain scans, was then identified through DNA testing, AFP noted.

"It is never easy or desirable to be the first patient in the world for anything," Senanayake said.

"I can't state enough our admiration for this woman, who has shown patience and courage through this process."

Senanayake said Ophidascaris roundworms were known to infect animals in other parts of the world, and it was "likely that other cases will be recognised in coming years".

The findings were published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

(With inputs from AFP)

 

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Published: 29 Aug 2023, 08:05 AM IST
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