This woman complained of severe headaches, what doctors found inside her body was horrifying

Earlier this year, this Vietnamese woman was suffering from severe headaches after eating this dish. Here's what happened when she visited the doctor...

Parasitic worm, headache, health
© Fleabag/Two Brothers Pictures
Parasitic worm, headache, health

In April 2023, a Vietnamese woman was very lucky to survive after being infected with parasitic worms that then buried their way into her brain and skin. The 58-year-old woman from the An Binh commune in the suburbs of Hanoi was infected by the worms after eating a raw blood pudding, which is a local delicacy.

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The unnamed woman ate the dish, known as ‘Tiet canh’, and went on to suffer from severe headaches and also multiple falls as the condition worsened. The symptoms got progressively worse and doctors were worried for her life as they struggled to find out what was wrong with her.

Here's what happened

The woman prepared the food herself – a dish made up of raw blood and cooked meat – before falling ill. She explained, as per The Mirror:

I thought if I make the pudding myself, it would be clean and I would rest assured knowing there would be no disease involved.

When she was taken to Dang Van Ngu Hospital, it was first thought that the lady was suffering from a stroke as her symptoms were so severe. However, upon doing some scans, it was discovered that she had the parasitic worms moving around under her skin in her arms and legs as well as some nesting in her brain.

Once the diagnosis was made, the doctors were able to give the woman the necessary medication to combat the parasites and she has now been discharged from the hospital but her situation could have been much more serious.

The deputy director of the hospital, Dr Tran Huy Tho, confirmed that the parasitic worms came from the blood pudding and said she could have easily been much worse off if they haven’t spotted it so quickly, as per The Mirror:

Many people even believe they suffer from seizures, strokes and other mental health conditions, so they get treated at psychiatric hospitals for years.
By the time they go to Dang Van Ngu Hospital, their conditions have already progressed and the parasites have already harmed their brain, forcing them to live with lifelong conditions like reduced eyesight.

How to prevent infection by parasitic worms

There are many different types of parasitic worms living around the world and whilst most can be treated straightforwardly, they can still be very dangerous if left undiagnosed. Here’s a few tips on how to prevent infection, as per Healthline:

  • Avoid or limit your consumption of raw or undercooked meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Avoid cross contamination during food prep by keeping meat separate from other foods.
  • Disinfect all cutting boards, utensils, and countertops that touched raw meat.
  • Don’t eat watercress or other freshwater plants raw.
  • Don’t walk barefoot in places where soil may contain feces.
  • Clean up animal waste as soon as possible.

Read more:

Work-related stress could seriously impact your health: Here are the symptoms to look out for

Three weeks-old puppies were found worm-ridden and abandoned on the streets

Man’s swollen scrotum filled with worms, doctors found

Sources used:

The Mirror 'Parasitic worms found swarming underneath woman's skin and buried in her brain'

Healthline 'What You Need to Know About Parasitic Worms in Humans'

Woman complained of consistent headaches, what doctors found in her brain was terrifying Woman complained of consistent headaches, what doctors found in her brain was terrifying