Tapeworm Infections

Tapeworm Infections


helminthiases of man and animals caused by intestinal parasites of the family Taeniidae; the most common types are infections from pork tapeworm and beef tapeworm.

The causative agent of infection from pork tapeworm is Taenia solium, which measures up to 1.5–2 m in length. The head has four suckers and a circle of hooks, by means of which the tapeworm attaches itself to the wall of the small intestine. Behind the head is a neck and a body consisting of many segments that contain eggs. The larvae, or Cysticercus cellulosae, parasitize the muscles and other tissues of swine. The animals become infected by eating fodder contaminated with the feces of an infected animal.

Man becomes infected with pork tapeworm by eating infected pork. The eggs of the pork tapeworm enter the gastrointestinal tract, and the larvae subsequently penetrate the capillary walls and are carried by the blood to organs and tissues, where they develop into cysticerci and cause cysticercosis.

Tapeworm infections are manifested by such gastrointestinal symptoms as nausea and abdominal pain, by irritability and fatigue, and occasionally by mild anemia.

The causative agent of infection from beef tapeworm is T. saginatus, which measures up to 6–7 m in length; the head lacks hooks. The cysticerci of the beef tapeworm parasitize cattle; infection takes place as in infection from pork tapeworm. The symptoms of the disease are gastrointestinal and nervous disorders; cysticercosis does not develop.

Tapeworm infections are treated with Preparation 391, extract of male fern, and pumpkin seeds; cysticercosis is treated surgically. The infections are prevented by sanitary maintenance of cattle, sanitary inspection of meat, careful observance of personal hygiene, thorough cooking of meat, and regular medical examination of persons working with agricultural animals.


Osnovy tsestodologii, vol. 4. Edited by K. I. Skriabin. Moscow, 1964. Page 404.


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