Cysticercosis(redirected from cysticercus disease)
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a cestodiasis of man and animals.
In man, cysticercosis is caused by infestation with pork tapeworm larvae. The mature helminth is parasitic only in the small intestine, but its larvae, called cysticerci, are found in the muscles and subcutaneous and other tissues of swine and, less commonly, in other animals and in man (seeTAPEWORM INFECTIONS). The cysticerci usually lodge in the eye, brain, and spinal cord, beneath the skin, and in muscles. Accordingly, cysticercosis is manifested by headaches and, sometimes, by convulsions, mental disorders, and eye lesions. Treatment is surgical; that is, the cysticerci are removed. Anthelmintics are prescribed when the cysticerci are in the intestines.
Preventive measures include the regular sanitary inspection of meat, the detection and treatment of infested individuals, the provision of instruction in health education, the consumption only of thoroughly cooked pork, the observance of good personal hygiene, and the sanitary maintenance of cattle.
Cysticercosis in animals is caused by tapeworms of the genera Taenia and Taeniarhynchus of the family Taeniidae. Occurring everywhere, they infest goats, sheep, cattle, horses, swine, dogs, camels, and some rodent species. Mature helminths parasitize the intestines of carnivorous animals (seeTAPEWORM INFESTATION OF ANIMALS). Animals become infested by consuming feed or water contaminated by the eggs of the parasites. The cysticerci develop in the skeletal and masticatory muscles, heart, tongue, brain, and other organs and tissues. Signs of the disease are usually absent. Some cysticercal species kill sheep and rabbits. No treatment has yet been developed.
Preventive measures include the extermination of stray dogs, the worming of work dogs and the provision of heated living quarters, and the veterinary supervision of the slaughter of livestock, the disposal of measly organs, and the burial of carcasses.