A LITTLE girl has had a giant tapeworm cyst removed from her head – after it grew to be half the size of her brain.
12-year-old Nita Juggi, from Kutch, in Gujarat, central India, had been suffering from seizures, headaches and weakness for over two years, but for the last 12 months she also began even experiencing paralysis down the right hand side of her body.
Young Nita couldn’t even feed herself or pick up a glass of water.
Worried, her father Kishor Parbat Jogi, 45, a farmer, took his daughter to see many doctors – but Nita’s condition failed to improve.
Kishor said: “We took her to many doctors but none of them could understand neurosurgery I guess. I think we were seeing the wrong kind of doctors. Her health was just getting worse day by day and we were helpless.’
Eventually Kishor, who has three other children with his wife Sarla, 40, took Nita to meet Dr Chirag Solanki, a consultant neuro and spine surgeon, at Sterling Hospital, in Gandhidham, Gujarat, two months ago.
The doctor carried out a lengthy examination as well as MRI scan and it was then that the shocking truth behind Nita’s pain was discovered.
Astonishingly, medics found a cyst on Nita’s brain that weighed a whopping 675 grams and measured 12.2cm x 11cm x 9.8cm in size.
Dr Chirag Solanki said: “I believe the hydatid cyst had been slowly growing in the girl for the past eight to ten years. But as it got bigger it had more effect on her day to day life and her headaches were getting worse.
What is a hydatid cyst?
Hydatid cysts occur alongside and infection of larvae called Echinococcosis – which is sometimes referred to as hydatid disease.
Brain involvement with hydatid disease occurs in 1-2% of all Echinococcus granulosus infections.
However, while many hydatid cysts remain asymptomatic even into advanced age and symptoms usually take a long time to manifest, when they occur in the brain or the eyes symptoms are more prevalent.
When it comes to brain related symptoms of a cyst; headaches, dizziness, and a decreased level of consciousness may signify that there is a problem in this area.
“It had grown to be half the size of her brain. It was very dangerous and there were chances the cyst could have ruptured and killed her at any time. It’s a bubble so it could burst at any moment.”
Dr Solanki added that the family were stunned to learn that their daughter had such a large cyst growing in her head.
“They eventually admitted that they had lived in a very dirty environment and they accepted they had not been very hygienic and that is how she contracted the tapeworm to begin with,” he said.
A hydatid cyst is a parasite infestation caused by an intestinal tapeworm. The most common form is Echinococcus granulous, and it’s often caught by herbivore animals such as sheep or cattle and then transferred to carnivore’s animals such as dogs and cats.
It can get accidently transferred to humans via contaminated food by an ova of a parasite.
Nita’s parasite had been left for so long that it had developed into a cyst.
It took Dr Solanki two-and-a-half-hours for him and his team to remove the 675-gram cyst without any complications.
Luckily, Nita recovered in hospital for two weeks before she was eventually discharged.
Kishor said: “I sold my wife’s jewellery to pay for the surgery. We are very poor and had no other way to pay for it so we had to sell something.
“I have told the doctor he is like my God.
“He performed the surgery very well. My daughter is now back to normal and is doing very well. We make her to do some exercises to keep her fit and we try to support her in every possible way.
“I thank god that she is better.”
Nita is now happy that she can play with her friends again.
She said: “I used to get very sad that I was not well. I didn’t feel good and I was always crying. But I’m fine now. I can even play with my friends so I am very happy.”
Dr Solanki added: “Everyone should treat their pets with anti-tapeworm medication. It’s very easy for animals to carry it and transfer it to humans.
“This is what happens when it’s left and neglected. If you touch stray animals always wash your hands afterwards.”