Cysticercosis (Pork Tapeworm Infection)

  • Medical Author:
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Quick GuideUncommon and Common Food-Poisoning Dangers in Pictures

Uncommon and Common Food-Poisoning Dangers in Pictures

What specialists treat cysticercosis?

The types of specialists involved in treating individuals with cysticercosis depend on the clinical presentation and the areas of the body involved. An infectious-disease specialist will likely be involved. A neurosurgeon may be consulted if surgical management is necessary. A neurologist may treat patients who experience seizures. Finally, an ophthalmologist may be needed in cases of eye involvement.

How do health-care professionals diagnose cysticercosis?

The diagnosis of cysticercosis can sometimes be difficult, as many individuals are asymptomatic, and the diagnosis is only made after patients have developed symptoms of the illness. Diagnosis may require a combination of tests and imaging studies. In general, however, the patient's clinical presentation along with abnormal radiographic imaging results (CT scan of the brain/MRI of the brain) lead to the diagnosis of neurocysticercosis. Blood testing can sometimes be used as an adjunct in making the diagnosis, though it is not always helpful or accurate. These tests are usually performed in more specialized labs. Rarely, a biopsy from affected tissue may be needed to make the diagnosis. Stool studies are sometimes also obtained because they may contain identifiable parasite eggs.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2016

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