Dwarf Tapeworm

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Related to Dwarf Tapeworm: Fish tapeworm, dog tapeworm
The only human tapeworm with no intermediate host
Epidemiology It is most common in warm, dry climates; infection is by direct transmission, often among families, and in institutions; the eggs hatch in stomach and small intestine, penetrate villi and metamorphose into cercocysts; recalcitrant infections are maintained by autoinfection
Treatment Praziquantel, niclosamide
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Any of the species of flatworms of the class Cestoda, phylum Platyhelminthes; all are intestinal parasites of humans and other animals. A typical tapeworm consists of a scolex, with hooks and suckers for attachment, and a series of a few to several thousand segments, or proglottids. New proglottids develop at the scolex, so that a worm is actually a linear colony of immature, mature, and gravid proglottids; adult worms range from less than an inch to 50 ft or more, depending on the species. The terminal proglottids, which contain fertilized eggs, break off and pass from the host in the feces. The eggs develop into small, hooked embryos, which, when ingested by the proper intermediate host (usually another vertebrate such as a pig), develop into encysted larvae (cysticerci) in the muscle tissue. Humans acquire tapeworm infestation by eating undercooked meat that contains the cysticerci. See: Diphyllobothrium latum for illus; Taenia

Species of medical importance are Diphyllobothrium latum, Echinococcus granulosus, Hymenolepis nana, Taenia saginata, and T. solium. See: cysticercosis; cysticercus; hydatid; taeniasis


Symptoms are often absent, but abdominal discomfort, bloating, or changes in bowel habits may be present. If tapeworms are very numerous, they may cause intestinal obstruction (but this is rare). Some species of tapeworms may cause severe disease: Echinococcus can cause life-threatening cysts in the liver or pericardium; Taenia solium can encyst in the brain and cause seizures or strokelike symptoms.

armed tapeworm

Taenia solium.

beef tapeworm

Taenia saginata.

broad tapeworm

Diphyllobothrium latum.

dog tapeworm

1. Dipylidium caninum.
2. Echinococcus granulosus.

dwarf tapeworm

Hymenolepis nana.

fish tapeworm

Diphyllobothrium latum.

heart-shaped tapeworm

Diphyllobothrium cordatum

hydatid tapeworm

Echinococcus granulosus.

mouse tapeworm

Hymenolepis nana.

pork tapeworm

Taenia solium.

rat tapeworm

Hymenolepis nana.

unarmed tapeworm

Taenia saginata.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners