Monsters Inside Me - Episode 2
Monsters Inside Me
New Series, Episode 2
Another of my write-ups, as I understood it, after watching Monsters Inside Me aired by Discovery/Animal Planet.
25 year old female dancer
Symptoms: cramps in abdomen, cramps worsen, nausea, sickness. 4 hours later pain is extremely bad. She had been out for a meal with her mother and thought food poisoning could be the cause but her mother her eaten the same thing so this was ruled out. She is taken to hospital. Severe pains. She arrives at ER in a critical condition. Doctors put her on IV drip. Bloods are taken, CAT Scan done. Results/CAT scan shows a mass which is causing a blockage and they think this is the cause. But what is the mass? They think tumour? Cancer? They prepare to operate.
A 20cm incision is made in her abdomen. Cancer or tumour could only be diagnosed until after the procedure. The mass was removed and taken for testing. She had to wait 3 days for results. Under microscope the mass was analysed. Doctors found fragments of a worm! A dead worm! They must determine the type of worm before any treatment can be given. Many questions were asked regarding had she eaten raw fish, sushi or salmon?
It appeared she was suffering from Anisakis. It normally infects sealions. When inside humans it can be very dangerous. This type of worm is more dangerous DEAD than alive! Once inside, the worms burrow but can get stuck and eventually die, causing obstruction. Immune response is huge and kicks in and surrounds the dead worm.
They showed a dissection of a fish infected with this parasite and you could clearly see the worm.
The safest way to prepare fish is cooking it thoroughly to avoid infection. They don’t survive in frozen fish, they die. But undercooked, you are at risk.
They believe this disease could be on the rise because of more people eating raw fish, ie., sushi. It is only when this parasite finds itself in the wrong host, ie., human, that it can be deadly. When these worms die, they cause massive immune system response and this can be dangerous.
His symptoms start with headache. He is dazed and his friend, who he is with at the time, notices he is behaving strangely. He collapses and appears to be having a seizure. His eyes are rolling and his body is shaking uncontrollably. He doesn’t appear to be conscious. His friend can’t get a response from him. He doesn’t appear to hear him. His symptoms worsen and an ambulance is called. He is rushed to ER where he eventually ‘comes out of it’. But clearly something is wrong and they run tests.
CAT scan is taken. It appears there is something in the back of his head. Because he was on a trip with his friend in another country he is advised to see a doctor as soon as he returns home. In order that the man can give his doctors some idea of what was found, the doctors there give him a DRAWING (!!) for him to take back with him. When he returns home, he goes to visit his doctor. It appears he has a cyst on the brain. Tumour was thought to be cause. His doctor was concerned that there would be a risk of recurrent seizure so put him on anti-seizure meds. Doctors still don’t know what the cyst is.
He was born in Haiti and doctors question him more. Doctors think parasite! A parasite living in his brain. Blood tests are taken and it is confirmed that he has Pork Tapeworm cyst in his brain! Very dangerous. It’s a vicious parasite. There are 2 primary hosts – humans and pigs.
If undercooked pork is eaten, that’s how it is contracted. The cysts get into muscle tissue. Eggs hatch into larvae, burrow and travel through bloodstream and reach the brain. This parasite has a very clever defence mechanism. They secrete a chemical to stop our immune system killing them. Immune response can be massive and encephalitis can set in and can be fatal.
There was only one cyst found in the man’s brain. The doctors didn’t want to treat because concern for encephalitis and thought best to leave it but monitor it as they thought the cyst may get smaller and just die.
Over time the cyst does get smaller and eventually dies. The man recovers.
Male – 5 years of suffering
Symptoms start with an itchy arm. Itch gets worse. He can’t flex his fingers. The itching is at the point it is unbearable so he goes to visit his doctor. (The man is actually a chimpanzee expert and he travels a lot so he explained this to the doctor).
The doctor is skeptical about his symptoms but then the man tells the doctor he has just returned from Africa. His arm swells and there is a rash. A sample of skin is taken from him and it is looked through a microscope. Small, tiny worms are seen! Onchocerciasis - River blindness is the cause of his symptoms. The doctor is concerned for his eyes. Are there worms in his eyes?
Infection is when an infected fly bites human. They can lay 1000 larvae a day. If the infection reaches the eyes, very dangerous as loss of sight can follow. Inflammation in the eyes can cause serious problems.
The doctor prescribes him drugs. It said that it only kills the larvae but not the worms. This man is on meds for 5 years. There are a number of worms in the man’s eyes and over time they do appear to be dying.
The drug he was prescribed was Ivermectin. I’m sure it said that this man was the FIRST person ever to try this med in the US. The Ivermectin breaks the worms life cycle.
He says his 5 year nightmare is over. He makes a full recovery.
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