• Monday July 13,2020

Pork tapeworm infection

The pork tapeworm infection is a parasitic disease and mainly affects humans. The pork tapeworm has a worldwide occurrence, but is mainly distributed in Indonesia, New Guinea, South America and Africa.

What is a pork tapeworm infection?

Tapeworms live as parasites in the intestine of humans or other vertebrates. There are many different tapeworm species. Each species can cause different ailments, but only a few species can pose a danger to humans. In the picture, the head of a tapeworm. Click to enlarge.

The pork tapeworm infection is a contagion of a tapeworm, which predominantly in the human intestine einnistet. An increased risk of contracting a pork tapeworm infection is found in people who often eat raw pork containing the pork tapeworm larvae. Typical foods here are: minced, meatpeak or steaks, which are only slightly fried.

A pork tapeworm infection is caused by parasites, here the pork tapeworm. Tapeworms need a host. Pork tapeworms are among the flatworms. They nest in the intestine of their end host and reach a length of a few millimeters to several meters. Pork tapeworms go through a cycle with different stages of development, they change their host. In pork tapeworm, the pig is the intermediate host, the human being is the final host.


Humans become infected with a pork tapeworm infection when the larvae of the pork tapeworm enter the human body. By eating raw or undercooked meat containing these larvae, a pork tapeworm infection then develops. The larvae grow in the intestine of the end host to tapeworms.

The pig tapeworms use their heads to attach themselves to the intestinal walls of the end host using suction cups or hooks. The tapeworm consists of several limbs, these include male and female sex glands. As a result, tapeworms are hermaphrodite. After fertilization, the eggs mature in the worm. Those worm limbs containing mature eggs will detach from the worm and leave the host's body with the bowel movement.

These eggs are taken by an intermediate host. The larvae now hatch in its intestine. They drill through the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream and distribute themselves in the body. Your goal is the muscle meat, since this is well supplied with blood. They settled there and train second larvae, so-called Finns.

The pork tapeworm infection in humans is now due to the consumption of this larvae-containing meat. In the human intestine, the worm larva develops into the mature worm and the life cycle of the pork tapeworm begins again. This can take up to 20 years. A similar process can also be found in a cattle tapeworm infection.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

An infection with the pork tapeworm does not necessarily cause symptoms. However, the clinical picture is exacerbated when poor hygiene leads to self-infection. The excreted via the intestinal tract eggs of pork tapeworm are absorbed through the mouth again. This infection leads to cysticercosis, which can spread to muscles, eyes or brain.

It happens in principle the same as in the body of the original host. Larvae develop from the tapeworm eggs in the intestine. These drill through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. There, the Finns can settle in the muscles, in the brain or in the connective tissue and lead to the appearance of various symptoms.

The person concerned lacks weight. He has no appetite and he is often sick. Likewise, headaches and dizziness may occur. It comes to severe blurred vision, which can lead to blindness. Meningitis can also be a consequence of pork tapeworm infection.

An indication is also a hydrocephalus, caused by fluid accumulation in the brain. The fins of the tapeworm can damage the muscles in an unfavorable course and also attack the heart muscle. The consequence can be paraplegia. If the pork tapeworm infection is not treated, about half of those affected die.

Diagnosis & History

If eggs of the pork tapeworm can be detected in the stool by microscope, this is the diagnosis of pork tapeworm infection. In a pork tapeworm infection, various symptoms may occur or go unnoticed. Some people suffer from emaciation, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite or anemia.

If there is a lack of hygiene, however, there is a risk of self-infection. If, for example, worm eggs are returned from the intestine via the mouth back into the body through insufficiently washed hands, this can lead to a serious illness. The doctor calls this cysticercosis, an implantation of the worm larvae into organs.

Mostly the course of a pork tapeworm infection is not complicated. As long as the worm does not form larvae in the human intestine, there are hardly any problems. In about 10 percent of all cases, the worm forms larvae. This can lead to dysfunction of organs, for example, the brain.


The outbreak of a pork tapeworm infection takes several weeks, because the development of the larva to mature pork tapeworm is three to four months. Only after this period are tapeworm eggs found in the feces. A pork tapeworm infection can cause serious complications and long-term consequences.

As a result of nausea and vomiting, there is often a loss of weight and deficiency symptoms that lead to impaired consciousness and increase the risk of accidents. Anemia is associated with similar risks and also affects the immune system and the circulatory system. If the infection is carried out with worm eggs or if the person takes the eggs from his own intestinal tract, cysticercosis occurs - affecting the eyes, brain and muscles.

This serious complication subsequently causes severe symptoms such as seizures, skeletal muscle or cardiac muscle damage, blurred vision, and meningitis. In addition, hydrocephalus (hydrocephalus) may occur. In addition to the typical side effects and interactions, drug therapy can also lead to serious complications.

In some cases, the preparation praziquantel causes cardiac arrhythmia, disorders of the brain such as epilepsy or neurological deficits as well as serious skin rashes and bloody diarrhea. If the disease is already advanced, mild sedatives or painkillers can cause discomfort to the cardiovascular system. As the disease progresses, the risk of new worm eggs in the body increases.

When should you go to the doctor?

A pork tapeworm infection should always be treated by a doctor. There may be other serious complications if the condition is not treated properly, which can lead to a decreased life expectancy of the person concerned. Therefore, even at the first sign of a pork tapeworm infection, a doctor should be consulted. Those affected should consult with a doctor if there is a strong loss of appetite, which is also associated with nausea.

Likewise, weight loss may indicate pork tapeworm infection and should be examined if it occurs without any particular reason. Furthermore, vision problems or severe headaches indicate the infection and must also be examined by a doctor if they occur over a longer period of time.

The pork tapeworm infection can be detected and treated by a GP. An early diagnosis and thus the early treatment of this disease are crucial. A correct and successful treatment does not lead to a reduced life expectancy of the patient.

Treatment & Therapy

Treatment for the pork tapeworm infection is intended to remove the parasite. The pork tapeworm is treated with niclosamide or paciquantel in tablet form.

As a result, the worms die or are paralyzed, thereby preventing further attachment to the intestine, the worm dies and leaves the body with the stool.

In persistent pork tapeworm infection with involvement of organs can also be irradiated. However, there is a risk of complications as the affected tissue dies.


A preventive measure to prevent pork tapeworm infection is to abstain from raw or undercooked meat. If you can not do without meat, you should freeze it for at least 10 days, so there is no risk of infection. Animals for slaughter are subjected to an official inspection of their meat. Here, the meat is examined for worm larvae before the meat comes to the consumer.


A proper medical care after a treated infection with the pork tapeworm is not necessary. A pork tapeworm infection is considered healed after several days of medication. If necessary, the subsequent immune response of the body due to the descending pork tapeworm fins or larvae must be controlled for a few days after the treatment.

For this purpose, cortisone is used as a drug to inhibit the immune system. After this immune reaction is over and the attending physician no longer detects any fins or cysts in the patient, the patient is considered cured. Follow-up examinations for follow-up are not necessary. The pork tapeworm can not multiply within a host.

This means that after the elimination of possibly adult and sexually mature tapeworms, there is no danger of further eggs hatching in the patient. Instead, these are eliminated according to the life cycle of the tapeworm with the feces.

Also, consequential medical damage that would require follow-up, as a rule, not expected. Exceptions can be very space-demanding Finns in the brain region. However, the symptoms triggered here are also usually temporary and completely disappear after therapy.

As part of the aftercare, a better understanding of the pork tapeworm itself can be understood. Thus, a pork tapeworm infection is really only possible with poor hygiene during food preparation or by barely cooked pork.

You can do that yourself

In general, a pork tapeworm infection is a disease that has the potential for severe side effects. For this reason, compliance with the prescribed drug treatment is of utmost importance. In the course of this, patients are required to care for themselves during and after the therapy and to avoid extensive physical activity. Because any physical and psychological stress affects the immune system, which is already challenged by the pork tapeworm infection and the prescribed medications.

Some patients have symptoms similar to those of other gastrointestinal infections during the illness. Nausea is relieved by medical or homeopathic agents and an adapted diet. Since it can come through the pork tapeworm infection to vomit, treat the patient at best, a lot of peace and stay as far as possible at home. The lack of appetite associated with the disease can also be lessened by a temporary change in the diet. If you feel unwell or have complications, consult a doctor immediately so that more serious side effects can be prevented.

On insufficiently cooked meat, no matter what type of animal, it is essential to do without during the pork tapeworm infection. Because an additional infection of the gastrointestinal tract with new pathogens, for example in the context of food poisoning, can cause serious complications and delay the healing process of pork tapeworm infection.

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