Culture

Parasite Horror: Six-Foot Tapeworm Pulled Out of Man's Mouth

Image via Twitter/NEJM

Stunned doctors removed a tapeworm measuring more than six feet long from the mouth of a 48-year-old man in India, according to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CNN reports that the man had visited his doctor in 2014 complaining of “tolerable” abdominal pain that he had experienced for two months. The worm was discovered during a subsequent endoscopy.

You can thank me later for providing the most disgusting story you’ll see all week:

“It was an undulating, moving piece of the worm,” he [Dr. Cyriac Phillips] said, “This worm segment was confirmation that there was a tapeworm infestation in this patient.”

After the initial discovery, doctors performed an endoscopy, a procedure using a camera inserted into the patient’s stomach to view the intestines. During the procedure, Phillips and his team were able to see images of the lengthy parasite residing in the small intestine.

After sedating the man, a team of physicians at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences Hospital in New Delhi was able to extract the worm by pulling it through his mouth with a pair of forceps.

When removed, the tapeworm measured 6.1 feet and was classified as a Taenia solium, otherwise known as a pork tapeworm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a fully grown adult worm typically measures between 2 and 7 meters (6.5 to 23 feet) in length, but there have been cases reporting worms more than 8 meters (26 feet) long.

“We had absolutely no idea regarding the length of this worm,” Phillips said. “It kept on coming.”

“We pulled at it softly and steadily, and ultimately the job was done after maybe around 1 hour and 15 minutes. I have never seen a tapeworm this long before this particular case.”

You want to see the video of this amazing procedure, am I right, PJM readers? Well, of course, you do:

https://youtu.be/67UovBg5hik

Here’s a still image from the procedure—and the tapeworm—posted by the New England Journal of Medicine on Twitter:

You’re welcome.

Docs prescribed praziquantel, an anti-parasitic medication to kill any eggs or larvae potentially remaining in the man’s intestines. The man and his family were told to take the deworming medication for the next six months.

Moral of the story: do not eat undercooked pork. (Or raw salmon, as we recently reported here.)