Man gets brain-eating worm in eye from undercooked pork - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Man gets brain-eating worm in eye from undercooked pork

Dr. Don Perez of Tampa General said Cordero’s particular case was one of 20 documented in human eyes. (Source: Tampa General Hospital/WFTS/CNN) Dr. Don Perez of Tampa General said Cordero’s particular case was one of 20 documented in human eyes. (Source: Tampa General Hospital/WFTS/CNN)

TAMPA, FL (WFTS/CNN) – The little black dot Sam Cordero began seeing in his left eye proved to be much more significant than an annoyance: It was a tapeworm.

Cordero said he ate undercooked pork around Christmas, and months later he started seeing black dots in his vision. That was the worm settling into his eye.

“It came from the artery to vein, you know, circulation, and it grew in here,” said Dr. Don Perez of Tampa General Hospital.

The worm, he said, was swimming around the fluid in Cordero’s eye.

“It can’t get out; it wants to,” he said. “And sooner or later, it will run out of food.”

If the parasite died, the inflammation could have blinded Cordero. If it had laid some of its 50,000 eggs, the larvae could have traveled to his brain and began eating it.

“Very lucky, very lucky,” Perez said of Cordero. “If it’s in the brain, he would present with seizures.”

Perez performed the delicate surgery to remove the tapeworm.

“You have to tickle it with light from one side, and have the cutter ready, so when it shoots into the cutter from the light, you can actually aspirate it and kill it.”

Perez said he took out three millimeters of worm that was fertilized with those tens of thousands of eggs. He said there are roughly 20 documented cases worldwide of pork tapeworm in human eyes. This was his second case.

In 2012, Perez successfully removed the same pork worm from another patient’s eye.

“I've been hit with lightning because you seldom see this,” he said.

Perez said this tapeworm is also responsible for 70 percent of all acquired epilepsy cases, yet most of them are never traced back to the worm. There are no reported cases in Muslim countries, where people do not eat pork.

Romero, for his part, said he doesn’t think he’ll eat pork again.

“That’s one of the changes that I’m going to make in my life,” he said.

Copyright 2018 WFTS via CNN. All rights reserved.

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