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Neurocysticercosis: updates on epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management.

Neurocysticercosis is now recognized as a common cause of neurologic disease in developing countries and the United States. The pathogenesis and clinical manifestations vary with the site of infection and accompanying host response. Inactive infection should be treated symptomatically. Active parenchymal infection results from an inflammatory reaction to the degenerating cysticercus and will also respond to symptomatic treatment. Controlled trials have not demonstrated a clinical benefit for antiparasitic drugs. Ventricular neurocysticercosis often causes obstructive hydrocephalus. Surgical intervention, especially cerebrospinal fluid diversion, is the key to management of hydrocephalus. Shunt failure may be less frequent when patients are treated with prednisone and/or antiparasitic drugs. Subarachnoid cysticercosis is associated with arachnoiditis. The arachnoiditis may result in meningitis, vasculitis with stroke, or hydrocephalus. Patients should be treated with corticosteroids, antiparasitic drugs, and shunting if hydrocephalus is present.

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