Live Worm Found ‘Wriggling’ In Woman’s Brain Had Been There For More Than A Year

White roundworm parasite


In never before seen medical news, a parasitic worm survived in a woman’s body and brain for at least a year and was “alive and wriggling” when a neurosurgeon discovered it.

The woman, 64, living in New South Wales, Australia, had been complaining of diarrhea and abdominal pain, a dry cough, night sweats, and fever.

She had been experiencing the symptoms for three weeks before being admitted to her local hospital, according to the study, published in the September 2023 issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Almost a year and a half later, the woman said she had been experiencing forgetfulness and depression and was referred to Canberra Hospital where underwent brain surgery after a MRI scan revealed “an atypical lesion within the right frontal lobe of the brain.”

It was during the surgery that neurosurgeon Dr. Hari Priya Bandi made a startling discovery and one that had had never occurred before, the Guardian reports.

“Oh my god, you wouldn’t believe what I just found in this lady’s brain – and it’s alive and wriggling,” Dr. Bandi said on a call to Canberra hospital infectious diseases physician Dr. Sanjaya Senanayake after the surgery was complete.

“The neurosurgeon certainly didn’t go in there thinking they would find a wriggling worm,” Dr. Senanayake said. “Neurosurgeons regularly deal with infections in the brain, but this was a once-in-a-career finding. No one was expecting to find that.”

Dr. Bandi recalled his reaction to seeing the worm in the woman’s brain to Sky News.

“To my shock there was a linear wiggling red line… We could see it was moving!” he said.

“[It was] surprising for us and not what we’re used to at all when we do such planned surgery… but [it was] an answer to this woman who had been suffering for so long.”

The worm was later taken to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Canberra where after three days it was “still wiggling quite happily.”

Scientists there were able to identify the worm as a third-stage larva of the Ophidascaris robertsi nematode species. Ophidascaris robertsi is a roundworm usually found in pythons.

The woman’s case was the first time it has ever been discovered in a human being.

“To our knowledge, this is also the first case to involve the brain of any mammalian species, human or otherwise,” Dr. Senanayake said a statement.

Researchers believe that she, “likely caught the roundworm after collecting a type of native grass, Warrigal greens, beside a lake near where she lived in which the python had shed the parasite via its faeces.”

“That poor patient, she was so courageous and wonderful,” Dr. Senanayake said. “You don’t want to be the first patient in the world with a roundworm found in pythons and we really take our hats off to her. She’s been wonderful.”

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Before settling down at BroBible, Douglas Charles, a graduate of the University of Iowa (Go Hawks), owned and operated a wide assortment of websites. He is also one of the few White Sox fans out there and thinks Michael Jordan is, hands down, the GOAT.