The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Parasitic infection, but Paes is safe

Calcutta, Aug. 23: Doctors attending on Leander Paes tonight diagnosed a parasitic infection as the cause of his brain lesion and said he was totally out of danger. The Indian tennis ace will be treated with medicines after any malignancy was ruled out.

Earlier in the evening, a source revealed that a report said worms had been found in Leander’s blood samples.

It confirmed the worm theory the three-man medical panel at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando, US, had listed as one of the possible causes of the formation of the 4-mm cyst on the left base of Leander’s brain.

Dr Clarence H. Brown, the hospital CEO and chief of cancer and tumour research, had said one common infection in India that caused such a brain lesion was cysticercus granuloma, caused by the larval form of a tapeworm. He is on the medical panel with Dr Miyan Razzaq, a spine and brain neurosurgeon, and Dr Anthony Scarcella.

The diagnosis is heartening as it nixes the possibility of other more damaging ailments. Doctors had not ruled out a tumour when he was admitted to hospital almost a week ago.

The news will definitely perk up Leander, whose mood, his father Dr Vece Paes said, was alternating between “cheerful and depressed”. Paes arrived in Orlando late on Friday (local time) and is staying at the hospital, working closely with the medical team.

A source said the blood report will not stall another set of CT scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and a host of other tests, which had been negative in the first round.

Speaking on phone from Orlando before the infection was identified, Paes said Leander was “depressed because proper treatment hasn’t started yet — that will happen only when the disease is fully diagnosed”.

“The brain is a difficult area to diagnose quickly. It could be another two-three days before we know what we can go ahead with and what mode of treatment should be followed,” Paes said.

Leander, winner of six Grand Slam doubles titles, had checked into a hospital near his Orlando home last Sunday after three days of severe headaches. A scan had detected the lesion and he was transferred to the cancer centre on Tuesday.


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