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A 26-year-old Californian man almost died recently. The reason is surprising. Luis Ortiz went to a hospital in Napa because of a headache and nausea. Doctors were shocked to find a live, young tapeworm in the brain of the university student. The parasite was creating a severe blockage. Doctors saw that the situation was very serious. So, they operated immediately to remove the parasite. The tapeworm was still moving after they took it out. Luis Ortiz was saved from death. Tapeworms very rarely infect the brain. They are usually found in the intestines. Doctors do not know exactly how Ortiz was infected but they suspect food was to blame. Tapeworms can sometimes be found in undercooked meat and dirty water. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the U.S. has about 1,000 reported cases of tapeworms each year. The CDC adds that tapeworms are more common in developing countries with poor public health systems. Signs of parasite infection include stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite and weight loss. Others signs are a lasting headache and vomiting. The best way to avoid a tapeworm infection is to wash fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure meat is cooked thoroughly. The CDC suggests cooking all meats to an internal temperature of at least 63 degrees Celsius. Luis Ortiz has not fully recovered from his illness yet. He has memory problems and other difficulties thinking. He is not yet able to safely drive a car. But Luis Ortiz is not complaining. He says he feels lucky to be alive.