Taenia solium

Paul G. Auwaerter, M.D., Trevor A. Crowell, M.D.
Taenia solium is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm) are intestinal cestodes.
    • Cysticercosis including neurocysticercosis is main concern of these tapeworm infections, caused by Taenia solium.
  • Life cycle: additional details in CDC illustration.
    • Eggs or gravid proglottids are passed in stool.
    • Pigs ingest contaminated vegetation, and oncospheres hatch in the intestine.
    • Organisms invade the intestinal wall, migrate to striated muscles, and develop into cysticerci.
    • Humans ingest raw or undercooked infected meat, and gastric juices activate larvae, leading to evagination of scolex and attachment to the small intestine.
    • Over 2-4 months, cysticercus develops into an adult tapeworm; may grow up to 7 meters in length.
  • Adults have up to 1,000 proglottids, each containing 50,000-100,000 eggs.
  • Pigs are intermediate hosts; humans acquire intestinal tapeworm by eating undercooked pork containing cysticerci.
  • Humans acquire disseminated cysticercosis by ingesting eggs in food/water contaminated by human tapeworm carriers.

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Last updated: June 2, 2018