By Abimbola Ogunnaike
Australian scientists on Monday, 28 August, 2023, disclosed that an 8cm (3in) worm was found alive in the brain of an Australian woman, becoming the world’s first, reports the BBC.
The scientists said they were shocked by their discovery because, according to them, that is not what they were expecting.
The report said 64-year-old woman was said to have, for months, suffered symptoms like stomach pain, a cough, and night sweats, which evolved into forgetfulness and depression.
She was admitted to the hospital in late January 2021, and a scan later revealed “an atypical lesion within the right frontal lobe of the brain”. However, the cause of her condition was only revealed during a biopsy in June 2022.
The operating surgeon, Dr Hari Priya Bandi said a “string-like structure” was pulled from the patient’s damaged frontal lobe during surgery in Canberra in 2022.
She said, “It was definitely not what we were expecting. Everyone was shocked.”
Her case, the BBC reports, is believed to be the first instance of a larvae invasion and development in the human brain, researchers said in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal which reported the case.
The doctor further said the red parasite could have been alive in her brain for up to two months.
The woman, who lived near a lake area in south-eastern New South Wales state, is recovering well.
The neurosurgeon who found the worm said she had only begun to touch the brain part that had shown up strangely in the scans when she felt it.
“I thought, gosh, that feels funny, you couldn’t see anything more abnormal.And then I was able to really feel something, and I took my tweezers and I pulled it out and I thought, ‘Gosh! What is that? It’s moving!”
“Everyone was shocked. And the worm that we found was happily moving, quite vigorously, outside the brain,” Dr Bandi said.