The species of tapeworm (or solitary) that can be found in the intestine of man are:

1. Taenia saginata (beef taenia),
2. Taenia solium (pork tapeworm),
3. Taenia asiatica (Asian tapeworm).

The infection caused by tapeworm is caused by the ingestion of food contaminated with tapeworm eggs or with the larvae.
If you inhale some tapeworm eggs, they can:

  • Migrate out of the gut
  • Form cysts in the tissues and organs (invasive infection).

The tapeworm larvae become adult worms in the intestine (intestinal infection).

Generally, intestinal tapeworm infections are mild, but invasive infections can cause serious complications.

Where is solitary found?

The solitary enters the body by eating raw or undercooked meat from infected animals.
Taenia saginata infects:

  • A cow,
  • The bull
  • The cow.

Pigs are the carriers of Taenia solium (solitary).


What is a tapeworm or solitary?

Tapeworm is a parasite or cestode that lives in the digestive tract of a person.
Parasites are organisms that live inside or outside other organisms (called “guests”).
The parasites remove nutrients from guests, sometimes depriving the guest of the food they need to live.
The solitary enters the body when a person eats or drinks something that is infected:

  • For the worm,
  • For your eggs.

Once inside the body, the tapeworm head attaches to the inner wall of the intestine.
The tapeworm consists of several segments and when it grows forms other segments.
Each segment can reproduce the worm because it produces thousands of eggs. Since the tapeworm can have more than a thousand segments, it can easily spread.

Duration of tapeworm

The solitary has a three-stage life cycle:
1. Egg;
2. Immature stages, in which the worm is called a larva (cysticercus);
3. An adult stage in which the parasite (cestoda) can produce eggs.
Since larvae can enter the muscles of the guests, infection can occur when we eat raw or undercooked meat from infected animals.
The solitary can:

  • Living up to 25 years,
  • Grow a lot, up to 10 meters, although the record is 22 meters.


Causes of solitary or tapeworm

Generally, a tapeworm infection occurs when you eat raw contaminated meat from

  • Pig,
  • Bovine,
  • Freshwater fish.

Not all worms are transmitted in the same way.
The causes of different types of tapeworm infection are shown below.

Pig and cow
tapeworms Infections with pig or cow tapeworms may occur by ingesting raw or undercooked meat from these animals if they contain tapeworm larvae (worms that have just been born).
Larvae develop into adult worms in the gut.

In the case of the pig tapeworm, it is possible to:

  • Swallowing eggs in water or food contaminated with faeces;
  • Transfer eggs in the mouth after contact with an infected person or with contaminated clothing.
  • The eggs then develop into larvae within the body and invade other areas, such as the muscle and brain.

A pig or cow tapeworm is most easily found in areas of development such as:

  • Africa,
  • Middle East,
  • Southeast Asia
  • South America.

Fish taenia (Diphyllobothrium)
Tapeworm infection of the fish may be caused by freshwater fish, raw or undercooked, for example salmon.
Fish tapeworms are more frequent in countries where people eat raw fish, such as:

  • Netherlands,
  • Scandinavia,
  • Japan.

Dwarf tapeworm (Hymenolepis nana)
Dwarf tapeworm eggs can be passed from one person to another for lack of hygiene. You may also have recurrence because of hygienic conditions.
Eggs can hatch, become adult worms (measuring up to 4 centimeters), and reproduce in the gut without leaving the digestive system.
The average life span of adult dwarf tapeworms is 4-6 weeks, but auto-infections allow a longer lasting presence in the gut.
Generally, dwarf tapeworm infection affects children more than adults.
It is also frequent where people live in unhygienic conditions, especially if there are:

  • Fleas,
  • Cheap,
  • Rats.

These are the carriers of dwarf tapeworm infection.

Tapeworm dog (or Dipylidium caninum)
This species of tapeworm is a parasitic worm of:

  • Canids (dogs, foxes, wolves, etc.).
  • Felines (by former domestic cat).

Rarely are people infected with dog worms. This infection is called echinococcosis or hydatid cyst disease.
Children can accidentally swallow tapeworm eggs from the dog after touching the dog feces or due to contact with the dogs.
Dog tapeworms are more common in rural areas, especially those dedicated to cattle.


How does the transmission of tapeworm occur?

The solitary one spreads in the following ways:

  • The tapeworm can spread when we eat food (meat or fish that have not been cooked enough to kill the solitary and its eggs) or drink water contaminatedwith infected feces.
    For this reason, solitary infections are rare where good sanitation exists.
    The bathroom, the sewers and the water treatment helps keep the stool away from water and food sources.
  • The lone can be contagious because a person can transmit tapeworm eggs to others not wash your hands after using the toilet.
    The tapeworm eggs in feces can spread easily with food or on surfaces such as doorknobs.


Symptoms of tapeworm infection

Generally people are not aware that they have a tapeworm infection.
It is possible to feel no symptoms.

Symptoms of a Tapeworm Infection in Humans
In the case of adult tapeworm infection, in feces you can see:

  • The larvae,
  • Segments of worms.

The segments of the solitary contain tapeworm eggs.
Depending on the type of tapeworm, the symptoms may be:

Pig tapeworm infection can cause an increase in appetite.

In rare cases, tapeworm infection of fish can cause vitamin B12 deficiency because the worm absorbs this substance.
Vitamin B12 is used to create red blood cells and therefore a deficiency of it can cause anemia .

Symptoms of an infection by tapeworm larvae (cysticercosis)
Some types of worms can not become adults in the gut. Instead, their larvae dig hole in the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. So they can travel to other organs in the body.

Symptoms of tapeworm larvae infection depend on the type of parasite, severity and the affected part of the body.

The larvae may infest:

  • The brain,
  • A spinal cord,
  • The muscles,
  • Subcutaneous tissues,
  • The eyes.

Symptoms include:

1. Discomfort or belly pain
2. Vomiting
3. Headache
4. Fever
5. Jaundice


Dangers of solitary

The tapeworm feeds on the food the guest is digesting and uses these substances to grow.
The solitary can cause weight loss up to 4-5 kilos per month but can not be used as a diet to lose weight.

The consequence is that in some cases it can cause malnutrition and even death if left untreated.


Diagnosis of solitary

The diagnosis of tapeworm infection is done with stool examination .
Individuals should inform the physician if they have expelled the tapeworm segments with the feces.
Stool samples should be collected on 3 different days and examined in the laboratory to see if there are any eggs from tapeworm or other worms, such as oxyuriums.
Tapeworm eggs can be detected in feces 2-3 months after the onset of tapeworm infection.

The blood tests are done to confirm an invasive infection of the solitary, they serve to verify the presence of antibodies against the worms.


Treatment for solitary

Some people with tapeworm infection do not need treatment because the tapeworm leaves the body without treatment.
Others do not know they have this parasite in the gut because they do not have any symptoms.
However, in case of diagnosis of tapeworm infection, the doctor prescribes medications to remove the solitary.

Treatment for intestinal infections
The most prescribed treatment for tapeworm infection is oral medications that are toxic to adult worms, including:

1. Praziquantel (ie Cestox)
2. Albendazol (Zentel ®)

The  medicine your doctor prescribes depends on the kind of tapeworm involved.
The destination of the drugs are the adult tapeworm eggs, so it is important to avoid recurrence.
Wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.

Treatment for invasive infections
Treatment of an invasive infection depends on:

  • From the location,
  • Of the effects that the worms have caused.
  • Anthelmintic
    Albendazole (Zentel ®) may reduce cysts produced by tapeworm larvae (cysticercosis). The doctor may monitor you periodically with imaging tests, such as ultrasound or radiography to make sure the medicine is effective.
  • Anti-inflammatory treatment
    Tapeworm cysts that die can cause swelling or inflammation in tissues and organs.
    Therefore your doctor may recommend medications such as cortisone, prednisone, or dexamethasone to reduce inflammation.
  • Antiepileptic treatment
    If tapeworm causes seizures, antiepileptic drugs can block the disorder.
  • Placing a shunt
    A serious type of infection can cause fluid buildup in the brain, called hydrocephalus.
    The doctor may recommend inserting a permanent shunt (or tube) into the head to drain the fluid.
  • Surgical operation
    The surgical extraction of the cysts depends on their location and the symptoms they cause.
    Cysts that develop in the liver, lungs and eyes are usually removed because they can threaten the functionality of the organ.


Natural remedies for solitary

Among the home remedies used for thousands of years are:

  • Garlic, it is important not to boil this food by not losing its nutritional properties.
    We recommend eating two cloves of garlic a day to get rid of the worms.
  • Onion,
  • Pumpkin seeds contain antiparasitic vegetables,
  • Pineapple,
  • Seeds of papaya,
  • Pomegranate or lemon juice.

Evite :

  • Processed foods,
  • Refined grains (such as white rice),
  • White sugar,
  • Fried food,
  • Raw meat and fish.


Prognosis (recovery time)

With treatment, the symptoms of tapeworm infection disappear completely.
Without treatment, it can last for several years or cause death.

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