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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Pork tapeworm, the parasite known as cysticercosis, found in Phoenix woman, Rosemary Alvarez’s, brain

Late last summer, Rosemary Alvarez of Phoenix thought she had a brain tumor. But on the operating table her doctor discovered something even more unsightly — a parasitic worm eating her brain. When Alvarez awoke, she heard the good news that she was tumor-free and she would make a full recovery. But she also heard the disturbing news of how the worm got there in the first place. She had been served food that was tainted with the feces of a person infected with the pork tapeworm parasite.

"We’ve got a lot more of cases of this in the United States now," said Raymond Kuhn, professor of biology and an expert on parasites at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. "Upwards of 20 percent of neurology offices in California have seen it. Kuhn said whether you get a tapeworm in the intestine, or a worm burrowing into your brain can depend on how you consumed the parasite. Kuhn said it is then feces-tainted food, and not undercooked pork, that leads to worms burrowing into the brain.

A Marler Clark growth potential – perhaps?