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11 December 2023

For the first time, a snake worm was found in the brain of an Australian woman

By E247

The world's first case of a new parasitic infection in a human has been discovered after a live roundworm measuring 8 centimeters was found in the brain of an Australian woman.

The live and wriggling roundworm, "Ovidascaris robertsi," was removed from the 64-year-old patient during brain surgery in June 2022, according to researchers at the Australian National University and Canberra Hospital in a study published on Tuesday.

Roundworms are common in carpet snakes, and they typically live in the snake's esophagus and stomach.

"This is the first-ever human case of (Ovidascaris) being described in the world," said Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious disease expert at the Australian National University and Canberra Hospital and co-author of the study, in a statement.

"To our knowledge, this is the first case involving the brain of any mammalian species, human or otherwise."

The study said that larvae are suspected to be present in other organs in the woman's body, including the lungs and liver.

The researchers said the woman, from New South Wales, Australia, was most likely infected with the roundworm after collecting a type of local grass, green warrigal grass, where the snake had shed the parasite in its feces.

The woman was suffering from abdominal pain, diarrhea, persistent dry cough, fever, and night sweats. She also suffered from memory loss and depression, which led to an MRI scan that led to the doctors finding the roundworm.

The woman is still under observation by a team of infectious disease and brain specialists.