Do You Have Cysticercosis?

Do You Have Cysticercosis?

If you have lumps under your skin, or feel confused and dizzy often, you may have it.

When it comes to certain illnesses, we often think of them as happening someplace else. Malaria, dysentery, typhoid, they form a group of diseases from far away.

But sometimes these sicknesses are on your doorstep and you might not realize it. Something called cysticercosis is one of these.

Related: Parasites Found Living in a Woman’s Brain for Almost a Year

The hard-to-pronounce word is part of what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is labeling “Neglected Parasitic Infections” (NPIs for short).

Five parasitic diseases are on the list and they’re being placed on a priority list for public health action due to the fact that a number of people in the U.S suffer from them- and sometimes badly- and they’re actually preventable.


So, what is cysticercosis? It’s a parasitic infection that you might get if you live in the same household as someone who has a tapeworm infection. It comes from the eggs of tapeworms.

The details of how you get are kind of gruesome, so click here for more info. (We’ll say this: everyone please wash your hands after going to the bathroom).

Anyways, you can live with cysticercosis and not know. You may have no symptoms. But you could be putting your life in danger.

You might feel small lumps on your muscles, or the infection could cause cysts to grow on your muscles and sometimes your brain or spinal cord.

In the brain, it can cause confusion, seizures and stroke or even death.

Think you may have it? Talk to your health care provider. Some cases are mild and don’t require treatment. Medication and surgery is available for severe cases, which can be detected in the brain using a blood test, an MRI or CT brain scan.

And if you do find out you have it, everyone in your household should be tested for a tapeworm infection.

Photo credit: pathdoc/Shutterstock

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