Pork Tapeworm In Humans: Symptoms And Treatment Of The Parasite

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Pork Tapeworm In Humans: Symptoms And Treatment Of The Parasite
Pork Tapeworm In Humans: Symptoms And Treatment Of The Parasite

Video: Pork Tapeworm In Humans: Symptoms And Treatment Of The Parasite

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Video: Parasitic Diseases Lectures #36: Pork Tapeworm 2023, February
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  • 1 Features of the pork tapeworm
  • 2 Life cycle
  • 3 How does human infection occur?
  • 4 Symptoms of infection
  • 5 Treatment and prevention of tapeworm

The pork tapeworm is a type of tapeworm from the order Cyclophyllidea that parasitizes mammals. Pigs, dogs, rabbits, hares, camels and people are its intermediate owners. Tapeworm parasitism in the human body is caused by teniasis, if there is an adult worm in the carrier, or cysticercosis, in the presence of the Finn-cysticercus parasite. These invasions are usually manifested by disorders of the digestive system with some neurological and other disorders. Complications in such diseases are considered especially dangerous, therefore, symptoms of pork tapeworm noticed in time can significantly affect human health, up to saving his life. So it is important to know what the symptoms of pork tapeworm cause in humans, the treatment and the danger of this parasite.

Features of the pork tapeworm

pork tapeworm
pork tapeworm

The pork tapeworm has a tape-shaped white body, the length of which most often does not exceed 3 meters, but cases of detection of worms are known and are twice as long. On the scolex, the head of the parasite, there are 4 suckers and a corolla of hooks, the number of which varies from 22 to 32, which is why the worm is often called "armed". Thanks to such adaptations, the helminth is fixed in the small intestine of a person, which is its final owner.

Pork tapeworm is hermaphrodite, with the development of the worm, male genital organs appear first, and then female. All tapeworms lack the respiratory, digestive, and circulatory systems. The digestive function is performed by the tegument - the barrier and form-forming shell of the worm. The parasite feeds on absorbing nutrients with the help of the tegument. This coating also serves to release a special enzyme onto its body that protects the worm from the host's digestive juices.

Life cycle

pork tapeworm life cycle
pork tapeworm life cycle

Sexually mature individuals of the porcine tapeworm live and feed in the small intestine of their final host, which is always a human. With feces, the end segments of the parasite enter the world around them, where oncospheres appear from them, which the pigs eat with food. In the intermediate host in the stomach or intestines, the shell of the eggs is destroyed and the oncospheres are able to freely penetrate into the host's blood and spread throughout the body.

After a couple of days, more of them stop in the muscle tissue. Cysticercus or Finns form about 2 months after infection. Most often, they are concentrated in the intermuscular connective tissue, but with cysticercosis, they can settle in other parts of the host's body.

The Finns enter the human body when they eat enough raw meat infected with the parasite. In the intestine, a sexually mature individual of the worm develops from the larvae. Two months after infection, adult tapeworms begin the reproduction process.

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How does a person become infected?

pork meat
pork meat

Pork tapeworm is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, for humans it is most often the food route, sometimes infection occurs through water. The most common ways for the larvae of this parasite to enter the human gastrointestinal tract are:

  • Eating raw or insufficiently processed pork meat containing tapeworm larvae;
  • Infection by drinking water with parasite larvae;
  • In rare cases, pork tapeworm can penetrate due to non-compliance with hygiene standards.

Most people have a high degree of susceptibility to teniasis. People with this disease can infect both themselves and those around them with the larvae of the parasite, which leads to cysticercosis of the muscles, brain, heart, skin, eyes. Worms can be in the human body for several decades. Teniosis is widespread mainly in settlements that are unfavorable from a sanitary point of view. It is more often diagnosed in adults. The risk group for this disease is workers in pig breeding and meat processing enterprises.

Infection symptoms

allergic reaction
allergic reaction

Symptoms of pork tapeworm in humans can be mild or acute. When parasitizing an adult pork tapeworm, it has the following detrimental effect on the human intestine:

  • Toxic-allergic. In this case, an allergic reaction or an allergic mood of the body develops;
  • Mechanical. In connection with the way the worm is attached in the intestine, irritation of the mucous membrane occurs with inflammation;
  • Absorption of some of the nutrients entering the host's body to maintain the vital activity of the parasite.

The clinical picture of symptoms is mainly associated with the effect of the parasite on the host's digestive system; several syndromes are distinguished in it:

  • Dyspeptic. It consists in a violation of appetite, unpleasant sensations in the intestinal area after eating, increased frequency of belching;
  • Astheno-neurotic. It is characterized by headaches, sleep disturbances, dizziness, fainting, increased irritability;
  • Abdominal. Pains in the abdomen appear, ranging from mild aching sensations to intense cramping.

A general blood test does not always reveal serious disorders in patients with teniasis, so the symptoms of pork tapeworm are not so noticeable. Sometimes it has an increased number of eosinophils and iron deficiency anemia. In the case when a person acts as an intermediate host of a pork tapeworm, he begins to develop cysticercosis, which can be extremely difficult. The body's immune defenses after teniasis are weakened, so the likelihood of re-infection increases. And even if the symptoms were weak during the first infection with pork tapeworm, with the subsequent infection with this parasite, the picture may change dramatically.

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Tapeworm treatment and prevention

tapeworm treatment and prevention
tapeworm treatment and prevention

At the first sign of a parasite in the body, you should consult a doctor. Teniasis is treated only in a hospital setting, which is due to the risk of developing extraintestinal infections. Anthelmintic therapy consists of drugs such as:

  • Niclosamide;
  • Praziquantel;
  • Pumpkin and male fern seed extract.

Symptoms may differ from person to person, and treatment depends on the clinical picture. The attending physician prescribes the necessary medications depending on the situation and monitors the treatment process.

A couple of hours after taking the medication, the patient is usually prescribed a saline laxative. It is very important to stick to your diet a few days before and throughout the course of treatment. After undergoing therapy, at least 4 control studies of feces are carried out at monthly intervals.

If a single cysticercus is found in the eyes or brain, in addition to etiotropic treatment, surgical intervention is prescribed. In the brain and other organs, the success of treatment directly depends on the extent of the invasion and the location of the parasites.

Preventive measures for pork tapeworm infection include:

  • Eating enough thermally processed meat;
  • Purchase of meat products only in specialized places that meet all sanitary control standards;
  • Visual check of the purchased meat for the presence of suspicious inclusions in it;

Preventive measures against intestinal teniasis at the state level are carried out by veterinary and sanitary control. For each individual person, the main prevention of infection with this parasite is the observance of standard hygiene standards. It is necessary to consult a doctor at the first suspicion of infection with pork tapeworm, so you can best prevent cysticercosis.

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