Journal of Parasitic Diseases: Diagnosis and Therapy

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Perspective - Journal of Parasitic Diseases: Diagnosis and Therapy (2024) Volume 9, Issue 2

Understanding Neurocysticercosis: The Parasitic Infection Impacting Brain Health

Article type: Perspective

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Journal short name: J Parasit Dis Diagn Ther

Volume: 9

Issue: 2

PDF No: 176

Citation: Belete M T. Understanding Neurocysticercosis: The Parasitic Infection Impacting Brain Health, , J Parasit Dis Diagn Ther. 2024; 9(2):176

*Correspondence to: Tafere Mulaw Belete. Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia, E-mail:

Received: 25-Dec-2023, Manuscript No. AAPDDT-24-135764; Editor assigned: 28-Dec-2023, PreQC No. AAPDDT-24-135764 (PQ); Reviewed: 11-Jan-2023, QC No. AAPDDT-24-135764; Revised: 16-Jan-2023, Manuscript No. AAPDDT-24-135764 (R); Published: 22-Jan-2023, DOI:10.35841/aapddt-9.2.176




Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a parasitic infection caused by the larval stage of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. It is considered a major public health concern, particularly in regions with poor sanitation and hygiene practices. This research article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of NCC, including its epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnostic methods, and treatment options. Additionally, the article discusses the challenges in managing NCC and emphasizes the importance of preventive measures to control this potentially debilitating condition.


Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a parasitic infection of the central nervous system (CNS) caused by the larvae of the tapeworm Taenia solium. It is recognized as the most common parasitic infection of the human brain and the leading cause of acquired epilepsy worldwide. NCC predominantly affects individuals living in regions where sanitation and hygiene are poor and where pigs are raised under unhygienic conditions.


NCC has a global distribution, but it is particularly prevalent in low- and middle-income countries, including regions of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Within these regions, specific factors such as cultural practices, pig farming, and poor sanitation contribute to the high prevalence of NCC. However, globalization has led to an increase in NCC cases in non-endemic regions due to immigration and travel.


The life cycle of T. solium involves humans as definitive hosts and pigs as intermediate hosts. Infection occurs through the ingestion of contaminated food or water containing T. solium eggs. Once ingested, the eggs hatch in the intestines, and the larvae migrate to various tissues, including the CNS. In NCC, the larvae form cysticerci, which can lodge in the brain parenchyma, subarachnoid space, or ventricular system, leading to neurologic symptoms.

Clinical Manifestations

The clinical presentation of NCC varies widely depending on the location, number, and stage of the cysticerci. Common manifestations include seizures, headaches, focal neurologic deficits, and cognitive impairment. Seizures are the most common symptom and may be the presenting feature in up to 70% of cases. The severity of symptoms can range from mild to severe, with complications such as hydrocephalus and intracranial hypertension occurring in some cases.

Diagnostic Methods

Diagnosing NCC can be challenging due to its nonspecific clinical presentation and the lack of a definitive diagnostic test. Imaging studies, including computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), play a crucial role in the diagnosis of NCC. Characteristic findings on imaging include cystic lesions with scolexes, enhancing lesions, and calcifications. Serologic tests, such as enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot (EITB) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), can also aid in diagnosis.


The management of NCC involves a combination of antiparasitic medications, such as albendazole or praziquantel, to kill the parasites, and anti-inflammatory agents, such as corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation and prevent complications. In cases of intracranial hypertension or hydrocephalus, surgical intervention may be necessary to relieve pressure and remove cysts. However, treatment approaches may vary depending on the location and severity of the disease.

Prevention and Control

Preventive measures are essential for controlling the transmission of T. solium and reducing the burden of NCC. These measures include improved sanitation and hygiene practices, proper disposal of human and animal waste, and health education initiatives to raise awareness about the risk factors for NCC. Additionally, mass treatment of pigs with antiparasitic drugs and meat inspection programs can help prevent the transmission of T. solium from pigs to humans.


Neurocysticercosis is a significant public health problem with serious implications for brain health. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, NCC remains a challenge, particularly in resource-limited settings. Continued efforts are needed to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies to reduce the burden of NCC and improve outcomes for affected individuals. Collaboration between public health authorities, healthcare providers, and community stakeholders is essential to control this preventable and treatable disease.


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