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Tapeworm Infection

Tapeworm Infection Causes

Humans usually get infected with tapeworm through ingestion of the tapeworm eggs or larvae.

Tapeworm Infection Definition

Tapeworm infection is the occurrence of tapeworms that may form into cysts affecting other tissues such as the lungs and liver, or the develop into adult tapeworms inside the intestines.

Tapeworm Infection Diagnosis

The patient's stool sample in the laboratory to check for eggs or tapeworm segments in the feces. For infections that involve tissues, the patient undergoes blood testing to check for the presence of antibodies in the blood that are produced in fighting the infection. Imaging tests may also suggest the diagnosis.

Tapeworm Infection Symptoms and Signs

Infected persons usually do not show symptoms of the infection. However, with the existence of tapeworm in the intestines, there may possibly be noticeable segments of the adult tapeworm in the stool. Other signs and symptoms may also include nausea, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and inadequate absorption of food nutrients. If the tapeworm larvae has invaded other tissues through the form of cysts, organ and tissue damage occur that result in fever, cystic masses or lumps, allergic reactions to the larvae, bacterial infections, and if the brain is infected, neurological symptoms or seizures.

Tapeworm Infection Treatment

Infected individuals usually take oral medications toxic to the tapeworm. These medications include praziquantel or albendazole as well as niclosamide. They are prescribed depending on the species of tapeworm and where it has infected. If the tapeworm has infected in the form of cysts, the doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory steroid, which reduces swelling caused by the cyst development. Surgery may also be required if the cyst development occurred organs such as the liver and lungs. The patient may also undergo an organ transplantation as a last resort in some cases.

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