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What Is Tapeworm Infection?



If you’re suffering from diarrhea and some abdominal discomfort, and if you’re experiencing weight loss with poor appetite, and if you’re also having itchy anus, then you’re most probably suffering from a tapeworm infection.

This disease can easily be transmitted to humans, and it’s also difficult to detect it unless you’re already experiencing its common symptoms. If you don’t get any treatment for this, the worms could cause serious complications.

Mode of Transmission

The most common way for tapeworm eggs to get inside your gut is by ingestion of contaminated foods. You may have accidentally ingested something that has been contaminated by the rat droppings of a rodent that carries tapeworms, or you may have also handled the droppings of an infected pet, failed to wash your hands afterward, and then ate food.

You can also get tapeworm infection from an infected pet if you’ve accidentally ingested an infected flea. The tapeworm eggs inside the flea will survive, and when they hatch, they’ll infest your gut. This is why it’s important that you wear protective gloves when you’re removing fleas from your pet.

Signs and Symptoms of Tapeworm Infection

The symptoms of tapeworm infection include stomach pain and abdominal discomfort. The patient also suffers from diarrhea as the body tries to expel the infection. In addition to these symptoms, the patient also experiences poor appetite with weight loss since the tapeworms are vying for the nutrients and minerals meant for their host. Instead of the host benefiting from the food he eats, it is the tapeworms that are benefiting from the nutrients and minerals.

Because the patient is not getting enough nutrients and minerals, he’ll feel general body weakness with ongoing weight loss. Finally, the patient also suffers from an itchy rectum.

If the infection turns severe, there will be a fever as well as severe allergic reactions to the tapeworm larvae. In addition to this, lumps and cysts also develop, indicative that the larvae have moved out of the gut and have invaded the other organs of the body, causing tissue and organ damage. Invasive tapeworm infestation also causes bacterial infection, affecting the central nervous system and causing neurological symptoms such as seizures.

Tests Done

Tests done to confirm the diagnosis for tapeworm infection include stool sample analysis as well as blood tests. Imaging exams such as X-Ray, Ultrasound, CT Scan, or MRI may also be given to the patient.

Treatment for Tapeworm Infection

Treatment for tapeworm infection includes a single dose of an oral medication that’s very toxic to adult tapeworms. These could be praziquantel, nitazoxanide, or albendazole, depending upon the type of tapeworm infection the patient has.

Treatment for invasive tapeworm infection includes anti-inflammatory medications in conjunction with the medications mentioned above. If there are neurological symptoms, an anti-epileptic medication, as well as shunt replacement, may be recommended. Finally, surgery is recommended to patients who have cysts and lumps.

Tapeworm Infection Prevention

Tapeworm eggs are usually spread by rats, mice, and other types of rodents. They are also spread by infected fleas found in pets and even large animals. If your home is rodent-infested and flea-infested, then do everything that you can to eliminate them. Call your local pest control company to get rid of the pests for you, and see to it that your home, garden, and pets remain pest-free.