A little boy suddenly felt a sharp pain in his groin. When he told his mother about his suffering, she didn’t realize what was wrong. The boy had eaten his meal of pork without any problems. He was getting enough sleep. But nothing seemed to be helping. He was not well, and soon his health declined faster and faster until he started experiencing seizures that really worried mom.

When the boy arrived in the hospital, his mother described how he had been experiencing these seizures. The doctors looked at each other, worry in their eyes, and started asking the boy question. The 18-year-old boy looked at the doctors, but could not erase the dazed and confused look from his gaze. Something was certainly wrong, and it did not take doctors long to see the swelling in one of his eyes.

Because the case proceeded with alarm and speed, it was later reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. But not before doctors immediately started treating the young man with gusto. They put him up for a series of scans. They quickly confirmed that his brain had a series of lesions in it that left his mind confused. He also had cysts in his right eye and in his groin. It was a case the doctors had not seen before. It was very worrying, and to make the problem even worse, the boy’s condition was deteriorating quickly. If they did not figure out what was wrong with the 18-year-old soon and do something about it, he might not live to see his next birthday. He might not live to become a man and have a family of his own and leave a legacy on this world that he could point to with pride. For this reason, his family refused to give up hope and kept fighting for doctors to do everything humanly possible to save their son.

Although the medical team never gave up, they could not save the boy. He died in that hospital from the illness that ravaged his youthful body just two weeks after he was initially checked into the hospital. It was a tragedy both for his family and for the team of doctors who had been so confident that they’d be able to save the boy who had been healthy only a few months before. Whatever condition it was that had taken his life came on like a New England thunderstorm.

It was later revealed that the boy was diagnosed with neurocysticercosis. This condition is as terrifying as it sounds. It is a parasitic infection of the human central nervous system that affects the entire body and the brain. The parasite finds a home in its human host by living and feeding off the human brain. The cysts that doctors found at first were not cysts as they thought they were. They were larval cysts formed when the tapeworm invaded the boy’s body and started laying eggs in his system. When the larva hatched, it traveled through his body, spreading to his groin and to his brain.

Neurocysticercosis can be prevented. It occurs most commonly when someone consumed undercooked food. In this boy’s case, it was the meal of undercooked pork that ultimately killed him.

Every time you share an AWM story, you help build a home for a disabled veteran.