A UK mother-of-four had to have emergency surgery after her brain became riddled with tapeworm which caused an aneurysm when they started to die.
Suki-Jane Taylor, 42, contracted neurosysticercosis, a parasitic disease where tapeworm get into the nervous system, after she was infected by pork tapeworm in 2009.
The mother-of-four is now fighting to be moved from her third-floor council flat, saying the tapeworm caused permanent damage — she now suffers epileptic fits, impaired eyesight and sense of balance — that makes it unsafe for her to use stairs.
The damage occurred after Ms Taylor ingested the tapeworm eggs and the larvae travelled to her brain where they formed cysts — when the tapeworm started to die it caused the brain tissue around the cysts to swell, triggering an aneurysm.
Ms Taylor was rushed to a hospital in South London and surgeons had to insert a shunt into her skull to drain away a build-up of fluid and remove the aneurysm.
"They removed it straight away and when I was coming around he [the doctor] was talking to my partner and he said I was two weeks away from death," Ms Taylor told The Local Guardian newspaper.
"[The aneurysm] was right at the top of my spine at the back of my brain."
Ms Taylor suffered a loss of taste and smell and now suffers epilepsy and depression as a result of her illness.
Tapeworm eggs are spread through food, water or surfaces that have been contaminated with faeces but neurosysticerosis is only contracted by ingesting eggs excreted by a person with intestinal tapeworm.
Once they are ingested the tapeworm larvae embed in tissues, including in the brain, and form cyst sacs called cysticerci.
Symptoms, including seizures, headaches, confusion, lack of attention to people and surrounds and excess fluid around the brain, can occur months or years after infection.
Neurosysticerosis is rare in developed countries with just 24 cases reported in the UK.
It is the main cause of acquired epilepsy in developing countries.