Note: Tapeworm infection is rare in the U.S. but more common in developing countries
Is This an Emergency?
If you are experiencing severe medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Pork tapeworm larvae that move out of the intestines and into the brain may cause neurocysticercosis, where cysts form throughout the brain and spinal cord. The cysts in the brain cause seizures or symptoms similar to brain tumors. Spinal cysts result in general weakness and overall difficulty walking. More severe complications, such as meningitis, hydrocephalus, or dementia, can occur. In rare cases, death may result.
Organ Function Complications
Invasive parasites moving out of the intestinal and abdominal area may affect specific organs in the body. Worms in the heart can cause heart arrhythmias or heart failure. Eye lesions result in vision loss or blindness. Cysts can grow throughout the body, causing increased pressure on nearby blood vessels and blocking circulation. The blood vessels may rupture. Emergency surgery or organ transplant is necessary in the most severe cases.