Cysticercosis in Emergency Medicine Clinical Presentation

Updated: May 17, 2021
  • Author: Mityanand Ramnarine, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is frequently asymptomatic. Symptoms are generally similar to those found with other intracranial mass lesions, which may be consistent with increased ICP. Cysticercosis of other tissues is almost always asymptomatic. The following symptoms can appear years after infection begins:

  • Seizures (focal or generalized) in 70-90% of patients

  • Chronic headache

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Vision changes

  • Focal neurological complaints

  • Mental status change

  • Cognitive decline



Physical findings include the following:

  • Absence of fever

  • Usually nonfocal neurologic examination findings

  • Papilledema and decreased retinal venous pulsations

  • Meningismus

  • Hyperreflexia

  • Nystagmus or visual deficits

  • Visualization of intraocular larvae by funduscopy may be diagnostic

  • Subcutaneous nodules resembling sebaceous cysts

  • Muscular pseudohypertrophy



Risk factors associated with cysticercosis include the following:

  • Immigration from an endemic area (especially Mexico, Latin America)

  • Family history of parasitic infestation

  • History of travel to an endemic area

  • Household visitors from an endemic area