Some stories just make your skin crawl.
When Tain Liao showed up to the hospital complaining of stomach pain and itchy skin, he had no idea what was going on.
But when the doctors at Guangzhou No. 8 People’s Hospital performed an X-ray, they discovered white spots throughout Liao’s body.
It turned out that he had an infection caused by parasites called cysticercosis.
Cysticercosis occurs when someone eats raw pork that has been contaminated with tapeworm eggs.
When someone eats raw contaminated meat, their body digests the tapeworm eggs as it would normal food.
But those eggs remain in the body, and once the eggs hatch, the larvae move throughout the body using the bloodstream and leave behind calcified cysts.
If left untreated, the infection can reach the brain where it can cause seizures and threaten the patient’s life.
Liao’s X-ray revealed that he had a very intense infection and doctors knew they needed to move quickly.
In 2015 when the story was first reported by Central European News, they claimed that the white spots on the X-ray were actual tapeworms and that Liao had contracted the worms from eating too much sashimi.
This has since been proven untrue, as the species of tapeworm mentioned in the report, Taenia solium, is only found in undercooked pork.
The picture of Liao’s X-rays are also very similar to pictures of a 74-year-old man’s documented in the British Medical Journal.
Similarly, raw fish was never mentioned in the BMJ case, but pork was.
While the rates of this infection are higher in lower income areas of Latin America, Asia, and Africa, it is possible to contract the infection in more developed areas.
The moral of this story is that you can never be too aware of where your meat is coming from or what could be in it.
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