beef tapeworm

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any parasitic worm of the subclass Cestoda; these have a flattened bandlike form and numerous species can lodge in the intestines of many animals including human beings. Tapeworms are transmitted to humans in larval form embedded in cysts, in meat or fish that is not properly cooked. In the human body they develop to maturity and attach themselves to the wall of the intestine, where they grow and release eggs. Called also cestode.

Although a large variety of adult tapeworms are sometimes human parasites, only a few infect humans to any great degree. Taenia saginata, the beef tapeworm, and T. solium, the pork tapeworm, are widespread and quite common. Beef tapeworms grow to a length of 4 to 8 meters (12 to 25 feet), and adult pork tapeworms average 2 to 4 meters (6 to 12 feet) in length. Both species release white, egg-containing proglottids, or segments of the body, which make their way to the anus and may be found in clothes or bedding. Diphyllobothrium latum, the fish tapeworm, is found in North America in the Great Lakes region, as well as in Northern Europe and Japan; it may grow as long as 18 meters (60 feet). Hymenolepis nana and H. diminuta are dwarf tapeworms that are common in the tropics and subtropics.

The diagnosis of a tapeworm infection is made when segments of the worm are found in clothing or bedding or when characteristic eggs or segments are found in the stool. Occasionally diarrhea, vague abdominal cramps, flatulence, distention, and nausea occur. Mental deterioration and seizures are rare complications, occurring only when larval forms of the worm invade brain tissue. Tapeworm infection can be prevented by cooking pork, beef, and fish properly. Although most meats and fish are inspected under government supervision, eggs and larvae are not always detectable; the only certain protection is proper cooking.

Once it is inside the body, the tapeworm can be eliminated by specific anthelmintic drugs or surgery. The drug of choice is usually praziquantel, which should be given in a dose large enough to cause the worm to release its hold and pass out through the intestinal tract. If the head is found in the evacuated feces, no further treatment is necessary. However, if the head is not found, the worm could regenerate in two to three months, with segments reappearing in the stools.

Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis differ from other tapeworms in that the adults infect animal hosts and the larval forms are found in humans. The larvae develop in the human intestine, penetrate its wall, and are carried by the lymphatics to various organs of the body where they form slowly growing cysts (hydatid cysts). The liver is the organ most commonly involved. Treatment is by surgical removal of the cyst. Infection with this worm (echinococcosis or hydatid disease) is uncommon in the United States.
Tapeworm: Life cycle of Taenia spp. From Mahon and Manuselis, 2000.
armed tapeworm Taenia solium.
beef tapeworm Taenia saginata.
broad tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum.
dog tapeworm Dipylidium caninum.
fish tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum.
hydatid tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus.
pork tapeworm Taenia solium.
unarmed tapeworm Taenia saginata.

beef tapeworm

beef tapeworm

The most common intestinal tapeworm to affect humans, which is acquired from infected, poorly cooked beef, which measures up to 3.6–7.5 m in length.
Clinical findings
Weight loss, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, chronic indigestion, diarrhea, headaches, vertigo.
Infestation rarely occurs where public health officials conduct regular and rigourous inspection of meat, but is relatively common outside of North America and Western Europe.

Stool examination for parasite eggs.



1. the meat of cattle other than the young calf. It may be bullock, yearling, bull, cow beef or beef treated in various ways including corned, biltong, jerked or its origin may be specified, e.g. grass-fed, lot-fed. See also meat.
2. pertaining to cattle used for the production of beef.

baby beef
slaughter cattle weighing 700-1000 lb at 9 to 15 months of age and grading good or better for quality.
block beef
beef suitable for sale as blocks for conversion at the retail site into consumer cuts.
boning beef
beef suited for manufacturing and processing.
beef breeds
include aberdeen angus, afrikander, aquitaine blond, beevbilde, belgian blue, belted galloway, bonsmara, boran, braford, brahman, brangus, braunvieh, charbray, charolais, chiana, chiangus, devon, drakensberger, droughtmaster, fulani, galloway, gelbvieh, hariana, hereford, japanese black, limousin, maine-anjou, meuse-rhine-yssel, murray grey, n'dama, pinzgau, polled Hereford, romagna, santa gertrudis, salers, shorthorn, simmental, south devon, texas longhorn, west highland and many other less well known indigenous breeds.
beef feedlot
see feedlot.
beef grading
grading of carcass beef according to quality for the information of the consumer and to provide the trade with a basis for pricing. The grade allotted depends on local requirements for consumers but usually takes into account marbling with fat, absence of excess fat, age and cutability.
hamburger beef
beef herd
comprises the bulls, the mature cows, the heifers yet to calve for the first time, the yearlings including bred heifers and calves not yet weaned. Where calves are not sold off for fattening elsewhere there will also be a bullock group.
beef industry
includes the beef production, breeding, fattening, marketing, slaughtering and processing and sale of the end product.
beef measles
see taeniasaginata.
beef production systems
include extensive grazing, intensive grazing, feedlot, cow-calf operations or suckler herds, breeding herds.
beef production targets
see performance target.
beef tapeworm
see taeniasaginata.


members of the genera Taenia, Diphyllobothrium, Dipylidium and Echinococcus; includes infestation with members of the tapeworm class Eucestoda. Most tapeworm infestations have little apparent effect on the health of farm livestock and are mostly esthetic problems in companion animals.

armed tapeworm
beef tapeworm
broad tapeworm
dog tapeworm
fish tapeworm
hydatid tapeworm
pork tapeworm
unarmed tapeworm
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