Cysticercosis of the Central Nervous System in Children Homepage

Authors

José Francisco M Salomão, M.D., Ph.D.

Matheus Fernando Manzolli Ballestero, M.D., Ph.D.

Benedicto Oscar Colli, M.D., Ph.D.

Ricardo Santos de Oliveira, M.D., Ph.D.

Section Editor

Adrian Caceres M.D.

Editor in Chief

Rick Abbott M.D.

Introduction

Neurocysticercosis is an infestation of the nervous system caused by encysted larvae of Taenia solium, the cysticercus. It is the most common parasitic infestation of the CNS. Parasites tend to lodge in the brain parenchyma, subarachnoid space, ventricular system, or spinal cord (1,2).

In countries in which NCC is endemic, it is estimated that as many as 30% of cases of epilepsy are caused by NCC (3).

NCC infestation is usually related to poverty and inadequate hygiene and sanitation, with higher prevalence in low-income countries. Even with advancing knowledge of the disease manifestations, many aspects related to diagnosis and treatment, particularly in children, pose challenges to clinical practice (46).

Key Points

  • T. solium is the pork tapeworm: T. solium belongs to the cyclophyllid cestodes in the family Taeniidae and its adult form is commonly referred to as the pork tapeworm. NCC (the larval is the most common parasitic disease of the CNS and a major cause of neurological disease all around the world (2,7,8).
  • Parenchymal NCC: The most common form of presentation and a leading cause of preventable epilepsy and other neurological manifestations (4,9,10).
  • NCC is a protean disease: NCC has heterogeneous manifestations depending on the location, number, and viability of the cysts and the host response (9,11).
  • Obstructive hydrocephalus: Hydrocephalus as well as space-occupying lesions may demand surgical treatment (1,5,12).
  • NCC is increasing in developed countries: This phenomenon is a result of increased international travel and immigration from endemic regions (9,13).