Tapeworm infestation

Tapeworms (cestodes) are ribbon-shaped worms that infest the intestines of humans and animals. They are usually acquired by eating undercooked meat or fish. Tapeworms from beef, pork, and fish usually only cause mild abdominal discomfort or diarrhoea. However, if eggs of pork worms are ingested, the hatched larvae burrow into tissues to form cysts. This leads to cysticerosis, the symptoms of which are muscle pain and convulsions. Rarely, fish tapeworms cause anaemia. Dwarf tapeworms, common in the tropics, can cause diarrhoea and abdominal discomfort. Tapeworms acquired from dogs cause hydatid disease. A diagnosis is made from the presence of worm segments or eggs in the faeces. Treatment is with anthelmintic drugs.


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