chapter  10
Neurocysticercosis and Epilepsy
ByOscar H. Del Brutto
Pages 10

Oscar H. Del Brutto Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is defined as the infection of the central nervous sys­

tem (CNS) by the larval stage of the tapeworm Taenia solium. The disease consti­ tutes a threat to millions of people all over the world, and is endemic in Central and South America, the southwestern United States, the sub-Saharan Africa, and in some regions of Asia, including the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Korea, and China.1-3 Conservative figures mention that more than 2 million people harbor the adult tapeworm and that many more are infected with cysticerci.4 In endemic areas, NCC accounts for 10% to 12% of all hospital admissions to neurological services. In addition, this disease is a major cause of epilepsy in developing countries, where the prevalence of active epilepsy is almost twice the prevalence than in the developed nations.5 It is estimated that 50,000 new deaths due to NCC occur every year, and many times that number of patients survive but are left with irreversible brain dam­ age.4 This is an important public health problem since most people are affected in productive ages. Despite the alarming magnitude of these numbers, they are but the “tip of the iceberg” since the actual prevalence of NCC is not known due to the lack of a reliable diagnostic test that permits a worldwide survey to assess the proportions of the problem.