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    Live Worm Plucked from Woman’s Brain in Australia

    Doctors plucked a 3-inch worm still wriggling from the brain of an Australian woman. She had been suffering from a range of symptoms, including stomach pain, cough, forgetfulness, and depression. Hari Priya Bandi performed a biopsy through a hole in the 64-year-old woman’s skull.

    Live Worm Removal From the Poor Woman’s Brain

    The surgery took place at Canberra Hospital when she pulled out the parasite. It was the larval form of an Australian native roundworm. The worm, called Ophidascaris robertsi, isn’t known to cause infection in humans.

    The worms are often found in pythons. The team suspects the woman got the worm by eating wild grasses to make spinach, which she gathered near a python habitat. Normally, the worms’ eggs are shed in the droppings of small mammals and marsupials that the snakes eat.

    The worms then grow inside the mammals and later become eaten by the python, completing the life cycle. The woman lived close to a python habitat and regularly foraged the greens, known as Warrigal, which are a common part of the diet in parts of Australia where pythons live.

    As the worm grew in her liver and lungs, she developed abdominal pain and diarrhea, as well as a persistent cough. Brain scans showed a stringlike structure that was later identified as the parasite through DNA testing. She entered the hospital in January 2021.

    During surgery to remove the worm, researchers were surprised that it wasn’t as big as they had expected. The woman has returned to normal life and is doing well. She is being monitored for other potential parasitic worms that may have infested her other organs.

    Six months after the worm was removed, her neuropsychiatric symptoms had improved but persisted, the paper noted. Physician Sanjaya Senanayake said that she is a very courageous and patient lady. The woman was sent home soon after the operation with drugs to prevent other parasitic infections.

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