Man suffers headache, doctors discover tapeworm larvae in his brain

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NAPA, Calif. (AP) — A California man says he went to an emergency room with a terrible headache and nausea, slipped into a coma, and when he woke up doctors told him a tapeworm larva had been living in his brain.

College student Luis Ortiz of Napa told the Napa Valley Register that doctors said he needed immediate surgery to remove the tapeworm.

Ortiz’s neurosurgeon, Dr. Soren Singel, says the worm had formed in a cyst that was blocking the flow of water to chambers in the brain, “like a cork in a bottle.”

He says another 30 minutes of that blockage and the 26-year-old Ortiz would have died.

Singel says tapeworm eggs likely made it into Ortiz’s intestine from unwashed food and eventually the larva made it into his brain.

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