- December 12, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Worms thriving in brains, Assam’s tea garden workers lose lives, livelihoods
- Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a preventable disease that wreaks havoc among Assam’s pig-rearing communities among others.
- The disease, which can result in adult-onset epilepsy, is caused when a human consumes meat from — or is indirectly in contact with — a pig infected with tapeworm.
- The eggs of the tapeworm invade the muscles of the human body to make cysts. Sometimes these cysts get into people’s brains, triggering epileptic seizures, headaches, difficulty with balance and excess fluid around the brain.
- Assam is the world’s largest tea growing region, with over 800 estates producing half of India’s tea.
- The life cycle of a pork tapeworm (taenia solium) takes it from pigs to humans and vice-versa.
- Tapeworm eggs are spread through food, water, or surfaces contaminated with faeces. Humans swallow the eggs when they eat contaminated food or put contaminated fingers in their mouth.
- Humans are the only definitive host for the parasite to complete its life cycle. This spillover from pigs to humans and vice-versa makes NCC a zoonotic disease.