Neurocysticercosis: A leading cause of acquired epilepsy worldwide

Gross of massive parenchymal cysts

Neurocysticercosis is the most severe form of cysticercosis, an infection caused by ingesting tapeworm eggs (Taenia solium). Once these eggs are in the bloodstream, the larvae can travel into the brain and form cysts, causing neurocysticercosis (NCC).

Symptoms of NCC can include seizures, headaches, or dizziness, although some patients with NCC show no symptoms. The greatest risk of getting NCC is through close contact with a tapeworm carrier. It is also possible for people with a tapeworm infection to infect themselves with NCC, a process called autoinfection.

NCC is considered one of five neglected parasitic infections (NPIs), a group of parasitic diseases that have been targeted by CDC as priorities for public health action based on the

  • Number of people infected
  • Severity of the illnesses
  • Ability to prevent and treat them

These infections are considered neglected because relatively little attention has been devoted to their surveillance, prevention, and/or treatment.



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Page last reviewed: May 7, 2021