Get some more pork on your fork — the catchy slogan so many of us will find familiar.
But one man in China may feel very differently about that sentiment after his pork-based meal left him with a skin-crawling medical condition.
The 43-year-old construction worker from Zhejiang Province in East China was admitted to Hangzhou hospital after suffering from seizures and loss of consciousness for weeks.
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But he was left horrified to discover his unexplained symptoms were being caused by hundreds of tapeworms in his brain and chest.
The patient, identified as Zhu Zhongfa, said he had recently eaten undercooked pork, which doctors believe was contaminated with Taenia solium — a parasitic tapeworm.
"Different patients respond [differently] to the infection depending on where the parasites occupy," Dr. Huang Jianrong, Zhongfa's doctor at Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, told AsiaWire. "In this case, he had seizures and lost consciousness, but others with cysts in their lungs might cough a lot."
He explained the larvae entered Zhongfa's body through the digestive system and travelled upward through his bloodstream. He was officially diagnosed with cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis, and given an antiparasitic drug and other medications to protect his organs from further damage.
After just one week Jianrong said Zhongfa was doing well, but the long-term effects from the massive infestation are unclear.
According to Victoria Health, Taenia solium — which is also known more broadly as Taeniasis — can be found in both pork and beef. The pork caused tapeworm causes both intestinal infection with the adult tapeworm and somatic infections with the larvae while the beef caused tapeworm will only affect the intestines.
The worms can measure up to 10m when mature and are among the biggest of these ribbon-like worms to infect humans, according to a report by The Conversation. The enter the body through larval cysts in undercooked pork that hatch in the stomach and quickly grow into adult worms which inhabit the intestine, feeding on the nutrients you eat.
In order to avoid bacteria being passed into the body, Food Safety Australia recommends cooking meat at a safe temperature and using a food thermometer.
Pork in whole cuts can be cooked at centre to your taste, ensuring the surface is well browned. A guide for steaks, chops, pieces and whole roasts is 77°C, medium 71°C and medium rare 63 °C (leave to rest for 3 minutes)
But better quality if pork steaks and pieces are cooked to 70°C and roasts to between 70°C and 75°C.