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Cysts, called cysticerci, can develop in the muscles, the eyes, the brain, and/or the spinal cord.  Symptoms caused by the cysts depend on the location, size, number, and stage of the cysts.

Cysts in the brain or spinal cord:

  • Cause the most serious form of the disease, called neurocysticercosis
  • May cause no symptoms
  • May cause seizures and/or headaches (these are more common)
  • May also cause confusion, difficulty with balance, brain swelling, and excess fluid around the brain (these are less common)
  • May cause stroke or death

Cysts in the muscles:

  • Generally do not cause symptoms
  • May cause lumps under the skin, which can sometimes become tender


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  • Page last reviewed: April 14, 2014
  • Page last updated: April 14, 2014
  • Content source: Global Health - Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria
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