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[Bertiella mucronata] [Bertiella studeri]
Cestodes (tapeworms) in the genus Bertiella. Members of the genus Bertiella are parasites of non-human primates in nature. Most human infections are by B. studeri and B. mucronata and have been in children with some contact or association with non-human primates.
Although the life cycles of Bertiella species are not completely understood, it is generally believed the genus undergoes a two-host life cycle, with an arthropod intermediate host (usually a mite) and a vertebrate definitive host (usually non-human primates for the species implicated in human infection). The two species usually implicated in human infection are B. studeri and B. mucronata. Bertiella studeri, which is an Old World species, usually infects monkeys in the genera Anthropopithecus, Cercopithecus, Cynomologus and Macaca; B. mucronata, a New World species, usually infects monkeys in the genera Callicebus and Alouatta. Higher primates, such as chimpanzees (Pan) have also been infected, often in zoo or pet settings. Eggs and proglottids are passed in the feces of the definitive host . Oncospheres are ingested by the arthropod intermediate host . This host in nature is believed to be one or several species of oribatid mites. In the arthropod intermediate host, the oncospheres develop into cysticercoids . The definitive hosts become infected after ingesting arthropod intermediate hosts infected with cysticercoids. Adults reside in the small intestine of the definitive host, where they attach to the mucosa with the aid of an unarmed scolex . Although rare, humans may also serve as definitive hosts for Bertiella spp., usually after accidentally ingesting infected mites . Most human cases of bertiellosis are in patients who had some level of contact with primates.
Bertiella mucronata occurs in South America and Cuba; B. studeri is found in Africa and Asia. Human cases are known from Argentina, Brazil, Borneo, Cuba, Saint Kitts, India, Java, Malaysia, Mauritius, Paraguay, Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Yemen. Imported cases have been recorded from the United States, Australia and Lithuania.
With so few human cases known, the clinical aspect of this disease is difficult to define. Cases are often asymptomatic; however some patients have experienced abdominal discomfort, anorexia, vomiting, or loose or fatty stools.