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Student Suffers Migraine Only to Find Out An Unwelcome Guest Was Living In His Head

Luiz Ortiz, from Napa, was around 30 minutes away from death after doctors discovered a tapeworm burrowed in his brain.

It started with a migraine. After a day of skateboarding, the pain because unbearable. When he became disoriented and started vomiting, his mother rushed him to the hospital.

That's when doctors in the emergency room at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa found the tapeworm in his brain. It almost killed him after he slipped into a coma. Dr. Soren Singel, who treated Mr. Ortiz, said he was lucky he arrived at the hospital when he did.

The tapeworm had formed a cyst that was blocking the flow of water to specific parts of the brain. Using an endoscope, Dr Singel and his team made a hole in Mr. Ortiz's skull, close to his eyebrow.

The worm was still wriggling when they pulled it out. It measured around 1/16 of an inch, with the cyst that contained the worm measuring 1/3 of an inch.

Tapeworms can enter the human system when people eat undercooked food from infected animals--usually fish or pork. In most cases, worms are not life-threatening and often die in the brain. Ortiz had to take time off from school to recover.

Photo: ABC News Go

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