A 26-year old man from California received the shock of his life after going to the emergency room to seek medical treatment for his severe headache. Doctors revealed he has a worm inside his brain and he needs a surgical operation immediately.

Luis Ortiz, a college student from Napa, slipped into a coma while he was being treated at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center. Upon waking up, he heard the terrible news as doctors schedule him for operation to remove the parasite that has lodged inside his brain.

"I was shocked. I just couldn't believe something like that would happen to me. I didn't know there was a parasite in my head trying to ruin my life," Ortiz said.

His neurosurgeon said he was lucky to have been brought to the hospital on time. Apparently, the worm has formed a cyst that has blocked the flow of water to the chambers of the brain.

"It's like a cork in a bottle, another 30 minutes of that blockage, and he would have been dead. It was a close call," Dr. Soren Singel said.

After the surgery, his brain is still recovering. However, the surgery and his condition greatly impacted his life because he had to drop out of school and go back home. He is not able to drive or work and his memory has also been affected.

Cysticercosis is an infection caused by eggs or larvae of pork tapeworm. An estimated 1,000 new cases of this condition is reported in the United States every year and around 50-100 million people are infected with cysticercosis worldwide.

People usually contract this illness by eating uncooked meat or food that was prepared by someone who has the tapeworm. Ortiz is not sure how he contracted the parasite because he was not in Mexico for years and he does not remember eating pork that often.

Dr. Singel said that Ortiz might have eaten something contaminated by the worm that infected his intestines. Apparently, a larvae found its way out into his brain. Sometimes, a person be might harboring these parasites without them knowing it.

"I'm just happy that I'm here right now, because if I would've went in a half hour later, I definitely wouldn't be here," Ortiz added.

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