STREAMING NOW: Watch Now
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Brain-eating worm grows in Florida man's eye

It is like something out of a science-fiction movie - a brain-eating parasitic tapeworm living in your eye. Unfortuna...

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 9:26 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 9:26 AM

It is like something out of a science-fiction movie - a brain-eating parasitic tapeworm living in your eye. Unfortunately for Sam Cordero, it wasn't a movie and the race was on to surgically remove it from his eye.

Taenia Solium, more commonly called a pork tapeworm, passes to humans from consuming raw pork or through contact with fecal matter. Properly cooked pork, and good hygiene when handling food, kill the parasite.

In some extremely rare cases the worm will travel through your intestines, into your bloodstream and embed itself in your brain or eye ball.

Cordero's parasite set up shop in the vitreous chamber of his eye, that is a fluid filled area behind Cordero's lens and between his cornea.

"He's got a window of opportunity where he can end up with 20/20 vision and parasite free," Dr. Don Perez of the Perez Eye Center said.

Perez said this is the second case he's diagnosed and treated of the pork tapeworm. He added that there have only been 20 worldwide cases since researchers began tracking the worm.

"What is scary, it gravitates toward the brain," Perez said.

Perez said they have to remove the parasite before it dies. If it dies in the eye the inflammation could cause Cordero to go blind. If it doesn't die and releases more larvae the parasite could travel to Cordero's brain.

"If he was in the brain he would present seizures," Perez said explaining that the worm eats the brain making tiny holes that make the brain look like Swiss cheese.

"I believe and suspect it came from undercooked pork we ordered around Christmas holidays and that's how I believe I got it," Cordero said. "I see a little black dot and it's only on the left eye. I see something moving from left to right. When the sun comes out it bothers me a lot."

Cordero said he didn't know the pork tapeworm existed until he contracted it in his eye. He was worried about the worm going to his brain and dying in his eye, otherwise Cordero was calm about having a parasite living in his eye.

"I know I am in good hands and he treated it before," Cordero said.

This is the second case Perez has treated.

In 2012, Perez successfully removed another parasite from another patients eye. Although extremely uncommon, Perez said poor hygiene especially in developing countries has lead to an increase in the parasite infecting homes both at home and abroad.

According to Merck Manual, "Taeniasis and cysticercosis occur worldwide. Cysticercosis is prevalent, and neurocysticercosis is a major cause of seizure disorders in Latin America. Cysticercosis is rare in Muslim countries. Infection in the U.S. is most common among immigrants, but North Americans who have not traveled abroad have been infected by ingesting ova from immigrants harboring adult T. solium."

Perez said proper diagnosis to save a patient's life is key. Adult tapeworms may reside in the small bowel for years. They reach 2 to 7 mm in length and produce up to 1000 proglottids; each contains about 50,000 eggs.

The worm removed from Cordero's eye was fertilized and 3mm long.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 270157

Reported Deaths: 3297
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin579261084
Ramsey24528470
Anoka19211213
Dakota18738176
Washington12351104
Stearns1200389
Scott735654
St. Louis712297
Wright646135
Olmsted604730
Sherburne499538
Clay435954
Carver397312
Blue Earth367011
Rice350331
Kandiyohi337613
Crow Wing306729
Nobles293828
Chisago27778
Benton256338
Otter Tail251415
Winona240928
Mower232822
Polk222221
Douglas211929
Morrison207521
Lyon189810
McLeod18089
Beltrami177115
Goodhue173126
Becker16769
Itasca165223
Steele16396
Todd161412
Isanti159115
Carlton148310
Nicollet144523
Freeborn13625
Mille Lacs129030
Le Sueur12899
Waseca128710
Pine11625
Cass11538
Brown112610
Meeker10117
Martin97020
Roseau9443
Hubbard92822
Wabasha8961
Dodge7770
Watonwan7604
Redwood75118
Chippewa7437
Renville68818
Sibley6844
Cottonwood6800
Wadena6706
Pipestone65618
Aitkin64722
Rock6259
Houston6012
Fillmore5910
Yellow Medicine55310
Unassigned52756
Murray5173
Pennington5076
Kanabec49711
Swift4835
Faribault4650
Pope4620
Stevens4342
Clearwater4156
Marshall4047
Jackson3981
Lake3463
Koochiching3275
Wilkin3175
Lac qui Parle3123
Lincoln3081
Norman3006
Big Stone2711
Mahnomen2404
Grant2256
Red Lake1833
Kittson1786
Traverse1190
Lake of the Woods821
Cook570

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 210482

Reported Deaths: 2173
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk31270322
Linn13252158
Scott1022075
Black Hawk10209126
Woodbury9870111
Johnson900835
Dubuque866490
Story637819
Dallas595555
Pottawattamie574666
Sioux349925
Webster330928
Marshall327841
Cerro Gordo323041
Clinton303637
Buena Vista290214
Muscatine266964
Des Moines266116
Plymouth257937
Warren254610
Wapello239971
Jones221112
Jasper202739
Marion191518
Carroll188220
Lee188015
Bremer176012
Henry16847
Crawford168215
Benton157414
Tama145140
Jackson13608
Delaware134721
Boone127711
Washington126513
Dickinson126210
Mahaska119027
Wright11425
Buchanan10789
Page10774
Hardin105810
Clay10434
Harrison101428
Clayton10084
Cedar98913
Hamilton9877
Mills9806
Calhoun9787
Fayette9588
Lyon9458
Floyd92614
Kossuth9214
Poweshiek91512
Butler8943
Winneshiek88910
Winnebago87423
Iowa86711
Louisa79916
Hancock7947
Chickasaw7853
Grundy77310
Sac7617
Cherokee7484
Cass73519
Appanoose7336
Shelby7184
Allamakee71111
Mitchell7074
Emmet70123
Guthrie69215
Union6866
Franklin67619
Humboldt6495
Madison6414
Jefferson6121
Palo Alto6044
Unassigned5810
Keokuk5237
Pocahontas5072
Howard4999
Osceola4941
Greene4860
Clarke4564
Ida42810
Monroe42812
Montgomery42610
Davis4225
Taylor4162
Adair4066
Monona3912
Fremont3432
Worth3330
Van Buren3294
Lucas3056
Decatur2950
Wayne2836
Audubon2811
Ringgold1832
Adams1521
Rochester
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 27°
Mason City
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 28°
Albert Lea
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 27°
Austin
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Charles City
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 29°
Colder Monday, Rain & Snow Tuesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sean's Weather 7/23

Image

Holiday cooking safety for Thanksgiving

Image

Turkey farmers adapting to the pandemic for Thanksgiving

Image

Jefferson Elementary students sending messages of hope

Image

Salvation Army needs support

Image

Rep. Bennett on restrictions

Image

Christmas drive for foster children

Image

Sunday weather

Image

Nupa responds to new COVID-19 restrictions

Image

Saturday Weather

Community Events