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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a helminthic disease caused by the parasitizing of tapeworms (Diphyllobothrium) in the organism of man and certain animals.

Diphyllobothriasis in man. Man is most often infested with the so-called broad tapeworm, which may reach a length of 10-12 m. Sexually mature helminths are parasitic in the small intestine. In certain diphyllobothriases the larvae, or plerocercoids, inhabit the subcutaneous tissue and viscera, causing the disease known as sparganosis. Infection is acquired by eating fresh-salted caviar and raw or semiraw fish, the musculature and viscera of which contain plerocercoids. In diphyllobothriasis there is mechanical and toxic stimulation of the nerve endings in the intestine. Allergic reactions develop as a result of entry of the tapeworm’s metabolic products into the sick person’s blood. Sometimes pernicious anemia can develop with diphyllobothriasis.

Diphyllobothriasis is manifested by weakness, tachycardia, loss of appetite, stomach pains, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and insomnia. Preventive measures include stopping the polluting of bodies of water with fecal matter and not eating raw fish or insufficiently roasted or cooked fish, as well as not eating freshly salted caviar of freshwater fish. Treatment involves administration of anthelminthic drugs.


Diphyllobothriasis in animals. Diphyllobothriasis is observed in fur-bearing animals, domestic animals, and wild carnivores. In the USSR it has been recorded in the Baltic Region; Leningrad, Arkhangel’sk, and Tiumen’ oblasts; the Karelian and Yakut ASSRs; Chukchi Peninsula; Sakhalin Island; and certain other regions. Infestation by the broad tapeworm in dogs, foxes, and arctic foxes lasts from one month to 1½ years. In damaging the intestinal wall the parasites disrupt the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. When the young of furbearing animals are infected with diphyllobothriasis, various disturbances of the nervous system (sleepiness, fits, and so forth) are often observed. The development of diphyllobothriasis anemia is a result of endogenous avitaminosis, that is, a deficiency of vitamin B12 and, possibly, folic acid within the organism of the sick animals. Treatment includes the use of arecoline, extract of male fern, and squash seeds. Diphyllobothriasis can be prevented by cooking, vacuum drying, freezing, and salting fish used for feeding animals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.