Brain-Eating Pork Tapeworm Found Living in Florida Man’s Eye

February 15, 2018 01:30 PM
A Florida man is recovering after surgery to remove a pork tapeworm from his eye, a rare, life-threatening infection.

It sounds almost too sci-fi to be real, but yes, there really are brain-eating parasites. It’s not a theme to an upcoming movie, but real life for a Florida man.

According to WFTS in Tampa, Fl., Sam Cordero had a tapeworm living in the vitreous chamber of his eye—the fluid behind the eye lens, between the cornea. He believed he contracted the worm after eating undercooked pork during the holidays.

He says he could see a black dot in his left eye, moving left to right.

Dr. Don Perez of the Perez Eye Center said Cordero had only a small window of time for the worm to be surgically removed to keep his 20/20 vision.

Watch the video report to see the worm in action. (WFTS)

Taenia Solium, 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 kills the parasite. This is the second case Perez has ever treated, and one of only about 20 cases reported worldwide.

“What is scary, it gravitates toward the brain,” Perez told WFTS. If it reached the brain, the worm would eat it, making tiny holes, like Swiss Cheese, causing seizures and ultimately death.

The parasite needs to be removed before it dies, or the inflammation could cause blindness.

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.

Back to news


Spell Check

Mark Vander Molen
2/15/2018 11:29 PM

  Why would you even post an article like this on a farm page? Did you not see what the Pink Slime Beef article from NBC did to a portion of the beef industry?

worthington----aka--Worthless Town, MN
2/16/2018 11:37 AM

  Mark,Remsen Ia. I worked Maint. in a local pork plant 4- 12 yrs.,they trk'd bones from Marshalltown Ia. (plus our own)where they were put thru a crusher and then a hyd. press with a extremely fine plate,it had a very nasty odor and looked like ketchup,yes it could have been labeled pink slime like the beef product,but like all products its U.S.D.A. inspected, people have the right to know whats in their processed foods,plain and simple the same as all consumers need to know what can happen if they eat under cooked pork,Mark,U put profits before human life,if u r a farmer u should be ashamed,no ifs ,ands or buts, that is the very reason the article was and should be published,everywhere possible, as for myself I just learned of a new parasite in pork.