Cysticercosis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 1/14/2022

Cysticercosis refers to a pork tapeworm infection. The pork tapeworm responsible for causing cysticercosis is endemic to many parts of the developing world, including Latin America, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, and the incidence of cysticercosis has increased in the U.S. due to immigration from affected countries.

The symptoms of cysticercosis are caused by the development of characteristic cysts (cysticerci) that are most often found in the central nervous system (neurocysticercosis), skeletal muscle, eyes, and skin. However, many people with the condition do not experience any symptoms at all (asymptomatic). Other associated symptoms and signs for cysticercosis affecting the central nervous system can include

Cause of Cysticercosis

Swallowing the eggs of the parasite Taenia solium causes cysticercosis. The eggs are typically consumed in contaminated food, water, or surfaces contaminated with infected feces.

Other cysticercosis symptoms and signs

  • Confusion
  • Cysts (Cysticerci) Found in the Central Nervous System (Neurocysticercosis), Skeletal Muscle, Eyes, and Skin
  • Difficulty with Balance
  • Excess Fluid Around the Brain (Hydrocephalus)
  • Headaches
  • Lack of Attention to People and Surroundings
  • Seizures

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References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.