Human Tapeworms


A comprehensive overview of tapeworm covering subjects like cure, treatment, symptoms, diagnostics, research, causes and pictures
Human Tapeworms

Human tapeworms


     Human tapeworm is a disease caused by different species of parasitic worms (helmints) that have a ribbon shape. Human tapeworm have two major causes: Taenia saginata and Taenia soliutn.

     Taenia saginata and Taenia helmints soliutn is a big helmit with a ribbon shape, the first parasite can reach a length up to 4-6 m and the second one up to 1.5-2 m. Their body is composed of separate segments (proglottids), of which the posterior ones have a uterus filled with eggs.

     The head of the human tapeworm is located at the beginning and is called scolex, equipped with four muscular suckers and at the Taenia solium, the head also has a crown of small hooks at the top. Tapeworm infects the human intestine with a strong grip to its mucosa. The grip is achieved with suction cups and for the second type also with hooks.

     Mature proglottids that have a uterus containing eggs detach from the body of the human tapeworm and are eliminated. The segments of Taenia saginata can move by their self and that is why they can get out of the body through the anus. The other human tapeworm named Taenia solium is eliminated only with faeces.

     Further development of the eggs is only possible if they get in animals that serve as intermediate hosts of the tapeworm. Intermediate hosts for Taenia saginata are cattle and for Taenia solium, pork, wild boar and man.

     After the ingestion of eggs by the intermediate host, the embryo found in the egg shell is released, enters the blood circulation system, it is transported into muscle, where it turns into a larva. The larvae development to adult stage lasts from 3 to 3.5 months until it reaches the helmintsstage and it takes place, which has eaten beef or pork that contained human tapeworm larvae (meat infected with these parasites cisticerci also known as peas meat).

     Adult human tapeworm lives in the intestines for several years. The human tapeworm's effect on the body consists of lymph nervous irritation located on the bowel wall and especially of the absorption of nutrients from the gut, which is made by the impregnation of the whole worm's body surface with food substances found in the intestine.

     Patients suffering from tapeworm infection complain of loss of appetite, nausea, rarely vomiting, heavy salivation, general weakness, headache, dizziness.

     Often the only symptom of illness is the elimination of segments, which is found especially in case of contamination with Taenia saginata because its segments can crawl along the intestine.

     Complications (intestinal obstruction and penetration of segments in appendix) are found very rarely. Usually, the disease has a positive ending, but untreated it can take a long time. The diagnosis is made by finding segments in the faeces. Taenia solium is more dangerous than Taenia saginata.

     It can cause disease known as cysticercosis. More frequently, cysticercosis parasites are found in the brain and eyes, but it can be also located in the muscle and other tissues and organs. Symptoms depend on the location. Often cerebral cysticercosis leads to the patient death, especially when multiple organs are contaminated.

     Ocular cysticercosis can cause blindness. Treatment is mostly surgical. Human tapeworm treatment is performed with different drugs, including extracts from the rhizome of bracken, pumpkin seeds, each taken separately or in combination with others.

     In the day before and treatment day, the patient has to follow a strict diet (semi-easy diet without fat), and the intestine must be completely empty. That's why in the day before treatment the patient is given a purgative salt and in the morning of the treatment's day a enema is performed.




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