Unprecedented Case: Live Worm Surgically Extracted from Woman's Brain in Australia

Rozana Spokesman  | Amanat Thaper

Lifestyle, Health

Medical Professionals Continue to Examine this Extraordinary Case


CANBERRA: In a remarkable and rarely encountered medical incident, a neurosurgeon attending to a woman's perplexing symptoms in an Australian hospital was confronted with an astonishing sight as a live worm maneuvering within her brain. During a brain biopsy procedure conducted at a Canberra hospital last year, Dr. Hari Priya Bandi, a skilled neurosurgeon, made an astonishing discovery. Employing tweezers, he successfully removed an eight-centimeter (nearly three-inch) long worm from the patient's brain, an event that left her astounded.

Recalling the incident, Dr. Bandi conveyed, "I thought, what is this thing? It is a living and moving thing." The extraordinary occurrence was reported by The Canberra Times newspaper on Tuesday.

The extracted worm was identified as the 'Ophidascaris robertsi', an Australian roundworm species that was previously unknown to exhibit parasitic behavior in humans. Typically found within the snake species Carpet Python, this worm's presence within a human brain is a medical rarity.

Detailing this extraordinary case, Dr. Bandi and Dr Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious disease specialist based in Canberra, have authored an article published in the latest edition of the journal 'Emerging Infectious Diseases'. The article sheds light on the unconventional circumstances surrounding the discovery and extraction of the live worm.

Dr. Senanayake recounted that in June of the previous year, the worm was detected within the brain of a 64-year-old female patient, a time when he was also on duty at the hospital. Describing the sequence of events, he said, "I received a call about a patient admitted with an infection. A live worm had been surgically removed from her brain."

The patient had been admitted to the hospital after enduring a span of memory loss and symptoms indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder for three months. Prior to this, she had sought medical attention at a local hospital for issues such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, dry cough, and night sweats.

Notably, The discovery of this live worm in an individual's brain highlights the unpredictability and complexity of medical cases, even in modern times. The medical community is grappling to understand how this specific worm, known to favor snake hosts, found its way into a human brain, presenting a baffling scientific enigma.

While medical professionals continue to examine this extraordinary case, it stands as a testament to the remarkable and intricate nature of the human body and the mysteries that can still lie within, awaiting discovery and exploration.