Background:Neurocysticercosis (NCC), an infection with the larval pork tapeworm Taenia solium, has emerged as an important infection in the US due to rising immigration from endemic regions.1-6,8,9,11 It is estimated that the US health care system spent nearly one-billion dollars on hospitalizations due to NCC in the last decade. 11We aimed to study, for the first time, the epidemiology of NCC on Long Island (LI).
Methods:A retrospective medical chart review was performed from 2005-2015 using ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes for “NCC”, “cysticercosis”, and “taeniasis” at Stony Brook University Hospital. Data collected included demographics, medical history, laboratory results, imaging, treatment, and outcomes.
Results:We identified 44 patients with NCC (31 definitive, 13 probable). Nearly one-quarter of patients resided in a zip code where the Hispanic community accounts for 65% of the local populace. The median age was 30.5 years (range: 4-94), the male to female ratio was 1.3:1, and 36 (81.4%) patients identified as Hispanic, Latino, or Central American. Country of origin was available for 29 (66%) patients; the majority (69%) emigrated from Central America. Thirty-two (72.7%) had parenchymal lesions, 4 (9.1%) had extraparenchymal lesions, and 7 (15.9%) patients had both. Seventeen (38.6%) patients presented with seizures. Thirteen (29.5%) patients were found to have vasogenic edema and 5 (11.3%) had hydrocephalus. Three patients were ventriculoperitoneal shunt dependent, requiring frequent hospitalizations and neurosurgical interventions. Three (6.8%) patients were treated with Albendazole only. Fifteen (34.1%) patients were treated with a combination of Albendazole and steroids. No deaths due to NCC were recorded. Approximately 39% of patients were uninsured in this study.
Conclusion:Our patient population was predominantly young, healthy males that would not have sought medical care if not for complications of NCC. We recognize NCC as an important cause of morbidity among Central and South American immigrants, a rapidly growing demographic in LI, and emphasize the need for early targeted screening practices in order to lead to earlier treatment and prevention of significant, life altering neurologic sequelae.