Epileptic Seizures Linked to Pork Worms

UGANDA - In a bid to educate the public about the risks of consuming pork, the Epilepsy Support Association, Uganda, an umbrella organisation for people living with epilepsy has gone into a partnership with the Veterinary Department of Makerere University to establish the relationship between pork and epileptic seizures.
calendar icon 3 December 2009
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Preliminary clinical traces established by the association indicate that pork-related causes of epilepsy are due to Taenia Solium, a worm that thrives in pigs and when consumed embeds in the human brain thus causing an infection of the nervous system.

"The incidence of epilepsy is thought to be higher in the Sub Saharan Africa because of an increase in brain injury and the central nervous infections, and pork is believed to be a grave cause," Dr Angelina Kakooza Mwesige, the President Epilepsy Society Uganda said recently. She said the infection referred to as Neurocystercercosis is cerebral and partly responsible for symptomatic causes of epilepsy.

In a six-page document presented to journalists in Soroti recently, Dr Mwesige said more than 80 per cent of the global burden of epilepsy is found in the developing countries with 10 million cases in Africa alone. Soroti is one of the districts with the highest pig population, reports AllAfrica.com. "We conducted a survey last year and it was established that 25 per cent of epilepsy prevalence is linked to worms eaten through badly cooked pork," Mr Augustine Mugarura, the National Director Epilepsy Support Association Uganda said.

He said other causes of epileptic seizures include metabolic disorders, poisoning, drugs, head injuries and development disorders. Ciprofloxacin, Theophylline and Indomethacin are among the drugs that have been linked to epileptic seizures mainly among infants.

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