National Cancer Institute CjO1T8nA62k Unsplash


Like many of you, we recently stumbled across the news story about a woman who contracted a parasitic infection which led to an 8-centimetre worm being removed from her brain. We immediately got to thinking, how in the world did it get there, and what types of worms can be found in humans like this?

We sat down with one of UNE’s expert parasitologists, Dr Tommy Leung, to chat about the story, how common these infections are, and the life cycle of the worms in question.

Tommy explains that this type of parasite is normally found in the liver of native animals, so it being discovered in a human’s brain is strange indeed.

“In other cases where scientists have found [the parasite] in the bodies of native animals, it’s inside the liver, so it’s unusual that it was found in [the woman’s] brain.”

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash