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Cysticercosis is an infection by the larval form of the tapeworm, Taenia solium. The adult tapeworm resides in the intestines of pigs or humans and eggs are excreted in the feces.
In areas with poor sanitation, tapeworm eggs contained in food or water are ingested and the larva are liberated in the small intestine. They then migrate through the intestinal wall to various tissues, including the brain, where they encyst. This cysticercus produces disease by functioning as a space occupying mass.
Cerebrospinal cysticercosis can result in seizure disorders or other focal neurologic signs. Cysticercosis is the most common cause of such findings in some Latin American countries.
Aiding in the diagnosis and confirmation of cysticercosis
A positive Western blot suggests the presence of cysticercosis.
A single positive antibody result only indicates previous immunological exposure. Antibody response is highly variable in regard to cyst location and each individual.
A negative test result does not necessarily rule-out infection. Patients with a single enhancing or calcified parenchymal cyst can be negative.
Test results should be used in conjunction with clinical evaluation and information.
1. Diaz F, Garcia HH, Gilman RH, et al: Epidemiology of taeniasis and cysticercosis in a Peruvian village. Am J Epidemiol 1992 Apr 15;135(8):875-882
2. Flisser A: Taeniasis and cysticercosis due to Taenia solium. Prog Clin Parasitol 1994;4:77-116