This article discusses select helminthic parasitic infections that may affect the central nervous system and reviews the epidemiology, neurologic presentation, recommended diagnostic testing, and treatment approach to these infections.
Emigration from and travel to areas endemic for helminthic infections that affect the nervous system has led to increased incidence of parasitic neurologic disease in developed countries, necessitating that neurologists be familiar with the diagnostic and therapeutic approach to these diseases. Evidence is emerging on the optimal treatment for neurocysticercosis, which varies based on the form of the disease in the nervous system.
Parenchymal neurocysticercosis is a leading cause of acquired epilepsy worldwide, and extraparenchymal neurocysticercosis is responsible for many cases of hydrocephalus. Recognition of the different stages and locations of neurocysticercosis is essential for proper management. Similarly, schistosomiasis constitutes a major cause of myelopathy in endemic areas and requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to avoid permanent deficits.