Tape worm infection

Abdomen | General Practice | Tape worm infection (Disease)


Tapeworms are worms that live in the intestines of some animals. Tapeworm infection is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs or larvae. They can migrate outside the intestines and form larval cysts in body tissues and organs. If a person ingests tapeworm larvae, however, they develop into adult tapeworms in the intestines, causing intestinal infection.

Causes and Risk factors

Eating undercooked meat from infected animals is the main cause of tapeworm infection in people. Although tapeworms in humans usually cause few symptoms and are easily treated, they can sometimes cause serious, life-threatening problems. Six types of tapeworms are known to infect people. They are usually identified by the animals they come from -- for example Taenia saginata from beef, Taenia solium from pork, and Diphyllobothrium latum from fish.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The medication prescribe by the doctor depends on the species of tapeworm involved and the site of the infection. These drugs target the adult tapeworm, not the eggs, so it is important to avoid reinfection. Always wash your hands after using the toilet and before eating.

To be certain that your tapeworm infection has cleared, the doctor will probably have stool samples checked at certain intervals after the treatment was finished. Successful treatment — meaning that the stool is free of tapeworm eggs or larvae — is most likely if the patient receives appropriate treatment for the type of tapeworm causing the infection. ...

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