In the quest for survival and responding to nature, humanity has encountered many experiences and often times found itself venturing into circumstances that are rather compelling.
Recently, the BBC had a story of doctors examining Alvarez’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) who thought they saw a tumour.
Later they discovered it was a brain worm. Doctors said this pork tapeworm in the bloodstream could originate from consuming pork.
Among the most common tapeworms in humans are the pork tapeworm, the beef tapeworm, the fish tapeworm, and the dwarf tapeworm. Infections involving the pork and beef tapeworms are also called taeniasis.
Pork meat containing larva forms of this tapeworm or ingests its eggs when eating contaminated foods, the parasite finds its way to the small intestine where they mature. From here the parasite spreads to the brain to form cystic lesions, also affecting the eyes, muscles or spinal cord.
The adult form is found in the small intestine of humans and some apes and the metacestode (Cysticercus cellulosae) in the skeletal and cardiac muscle of pigs and in the brain of humans.
MR Imaging uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures.
The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, printed or copied to CD. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).
Dr Elite Muvunyi, working with King Faisal hospital explained that tape worms are more dangerous when humans become intermediaries as a result of consuming pork.
“Humans can also be infected by accidentally swallowing tapeworm eggs or consuming pork with cysts which automatically goes to human tissues and straight to the brain,” Dr. Muvunyi revealed.
The cycle begins with swine eating food or drinking water contaminated with eggs from human faeces. The enclosed larva in the egg is called the oncosphere.
Oncospheres hatch in the pig’s small intestine, penetrate the gut wall and move to a number of areas inside the animal. The oncosphere quickly changes into a fluid-filled bladder form called a cysticercus. Intramuscular sites are the most common place for cysticerci to develop in the pig.
The cysticerci become visible within 2 to 4 weeks, and reach their full size in 60 to 70 days. The cysticerci remain infective in the pig for approximately two years.
Cysticerci are passed from swine to humans via raw, undercooked pork or insufficiently cured pork or ham. Once in the human intestinal tract, they mature into adult tapeworms. Humans are the only host in which an adult tapeworm develops.
The tapeworm attaches to the human intestine by its “head,” called a scolex. The tapeworm grows to a length of 2 to 7 meters in 5 to 12 weeks.
“The main issue is not getting tape worm eggs or larva in your intestine rather it’s having developed cysts from pork to human tissues and muscles thus causing brain worms which to some are seen as brain tumours,” Dr Muvunyi explained.
While the Christian world is divided over the issue of pork consumption, the disease is not common in the Muslim world. Some quote, Deuteronomy 14:8, “the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead”.
The people who use this scripture like Adventists and other Christians with related beliefs don’t eat pork. Another group claims that as long as you pray, the meat is as good as the rest.
The dietary rules were never intended to apply to anyone other than Israel. Jesus later declares all foods clean (Mark 7:19).
God gave the apostle Peter a vision in which He declares concerning formerly unclean animals, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean” (Acts 10:15).
When Jesus died on the cross, He put an end to the Old Testament law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:24-26; Ephesians 2:15). This includes the laws regarding clean and unclean foods.
“Many people here consume pork and it is hard to stop it when you are used to it. I sell between 50 to 60kgs every day,” Claudine Uwanyirigira. a pork butcher says.
According to doctors, pork has to be boiled to more than 55 degrees Celsius to be consumed.