The Beef and Pork Tapeworms

Organism Taenia saginata, the beef tapeworm and T. solium the pork tapeworm.

Clinical features The adult worm of both species can live in the intestines producing little pathology, being diagnosed often by accident. It does, however, share the food supply of its host so that when intake is inadequate, debility can occur. The serious problems are due to the Cysticercus cellulo-sae (from T. solium). The cysts die and calcify, those in the brain being a common cause of epilepsy or mental disorder.

Diagnosis is made by finding the proglottids (worm segments) in the faeces, the patients often making their own diagnosis. It is very important to distinguish between T. sagi-nata and T. solium in view of the danger of inducing cysticercosis. T. saginata has 1830 compound branches of the uterus on each side whereas T. solium has only 8-12 (Fig. 9.6).

Transmission The adult worm lives in the small intestine of man and as it matures, gravid segments break off and are passed in the faeces. Cattle or pigs inadvertently eat the proglottids (mature segments) or the discharged eggs contaminate the pasture. Alternatively, the animal can become infected by drinking water polluted by sewage. It has also been found that birds feeding on sewage can carry eggs for long distances and then deposit them on pasture land. Flies might have a place in transmission. The eggs develop into cysticerci in the muscles, favouring the jaw, heart, diaphragm, shoulder and oesophagus. Humans acquire the disease by eating improperly cooked beef or pork containing the cysticercus.

Both the beef tapeworm (T. saginata) and the pork tapeworm (T. solium) have the same life cycle except that the intermediate stage, the cysticercus of T. solium, can also occur in humans. This happens by swallowing eggs directly, either by autoinfection, from eggs in food or water or through sewage contamination. Also any gastric disturbance that might cause the regurgitation of proglottids into the stomach (including improper treatment) can lead to the liberation of vast quantities of eggs, with the result that cysticerci are produced anywhere in the body including the brain, orbit and muscle.

Allergy Relief

Allergy Relief

Have you ever wondered how to fight allergies? Here are some useful information on allergies and how to relief its effects. This is the most comprehensive report on allergy relief you will ever read.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment