A 25-year-old Australian woman was found to have tapeworm larvae in her brain after experiencing a headache for more than a week, the researchers said.
The unidentified woman, a barista who never traveled abroad, is the first case of the disease contracted in Australia, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
For seven years, the woman had experienced migraines two to three times a month that disappeared with prescription migraine medications, CNN reported.
But a recent headache that lasted more than a week and caused visual problems prompted her to seek treatment again.
Doctors ordered an MRI scan that led them to suspect that a tumor might be causing his headache, but an operation revealed that his brain contained a larval tapeworm cyst.
He was diagnosed with the parasite known as neurocysticercosis, which can be fatal and cause neurological symptoms, the outlet reported.
People often contract the disease from eating undercooked pork, which can carry tapeworms, or from coming into contact with food, water and soil contaminated with tapeworm eggs, CNN reported.
The researchers noted that the only previous cases in Australia came from people who traveled to regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Neither the woman nor her family members had traveled to any of the regions where the infection was common, the researchers said.
But they noticed that his job as a barista involved interacting with people from many countries.
“Doctors must take into account that, with the ease and frequency of travel around the world, diseases such as [neurocysticercosis] which are highly endemic in many parts of the world pose a risk to people in low-endemic countries, ”the researchers wrote, News.com.au reported.