Tapeworm (head) of tapeworm solium

What is it - biological definition

Tapeworm is the name given to a species of parasite that lodges in the gut of vertebrates. This parasite can measure up to 13 meters in length.

Summary of the main features of Tapeworm Solium and Saginata

Tapeworm solium and Tapeworm saginata are the best known, and in adulthood they parasitize in the small intestine of man (its definitive host).

Before reaching the small intestine of man, it passes through intermediate hosts, which are the ox (Tenia saginata) and the pig (Tenia solium). After infection, the man begins to have a disease known as teniasis.

However, in addition to being a definitive host, man can also act as an intermediate host, in which case a disease called human cysticercosis will occur. This is a very serious disease, since cysticerci go to the central nervous system and in this region cause a lot of damage and the most serious of them can be death.

Life cycle

The life cycle of this parasite occurs as follows:

- Elimination of pregnant progeny from the adult tapeworm (living in the small intestine of the man) near the feces;

- In places without basic sanitation, eggs contaminate the environment and are ingested by pigs;

- Contaminated pork is ingested by man, thus starting a new cycle.

In this new cycle, cysticercus will develop in the small intestine of man until it becomes an adult worm and begins to eliminate mature, egg-bearing proglottids again.

Its transmission occurs through the consumption of rare pork or beef. To prevent infection with this parasite, basic sanitation and the habit of consuming only well-cooked meats are necessary.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Platyhelminthes

Class: Cestoda

Order: Cyclophyllidea

Family: Taeniidae

Genre: Taenia

Taenia saginata scolex (Taenia saginata): absence of hooks and presence of suction cups.