Experts say neurocysticercosis occurs when parasitic larvae found in under-cooked pork builds up in the human body until they invade the central nervous system and trigger seizures.
The case was reported in The New England Journal of Medicine by the doctor who treated the patient, who was from India, in the north Indian state of Haryana.
Dr Nishanth Dev says that that teen had seemed disorientated and confused leading up to his seizure, and had complained of pain in his groin. He also had tenderness in his right testicle and swelling in his right eye - all common symptoms of tonic-clonic seizures and neurocysticercosis.
The MRI scan showed brain damage caused the parasitic larvae Taenia solium - found in undercooked pork - which invades the body from the intestine.
Despite treating him with anti-inflammatory steroids and anti-epilepsy drugs, it wasn’t enough to save the boy. No information is available as yet as to how he came to eat the undercooked pork and how badly prepared the meat was.
But it’s a timely reminder to be vigilant when preparing pork.
Says HealthLine: ‘Proper cooking is one of the most effective ways to prevent trichinosis, an infection caused by the parasite Trichinella spiralis.
‘It’s now recommended to cook pork steaks, chops, and roasts to at least 145°F (63°C) — which allows the meat to maintain its moisture and flavour without drying it out.
‘The USDA also suggests allowing meat to sit for at least three minutes prior to consumption for all types of pork except ground pork.
WHAT IS NEUROCYSTICERCOSIS?
Neurocysticercosis is a parasitic infestation caused by larval cysts of the pork tapeworm Taenia solium.
These cysts can enter the brain, leading to life-threatening seizures.
People develop the condition by eating undercooked pork.
They may also swallow microscopic eggs passed in the faeces of a person with an intestinal tapeworm if they do not properly wash their hands after going to the toilet and contaminate surfaces or uncooked food.
The World Health Organization recognises neurocysticercosis as a leading cause of adult epilepsy worldwide.
Neurocysticercosis can be prevented through proper handwashing.
Treatment often involves medication to reduce swelling in the brain and kill tapeworms.