The cestode (tapeworm) Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) is the main cause of human cysticercosis. In addition, the larval stage of other Taenia species (e.g., multiceps, serialis, brauni, taeniaeformis, crassiceps) can infect humans in various sites of localization including the brain, subcutaneous tissue, eye, or liver.
Cysticercosis is an infection of both humans and pigs with the larval stages of the parasitic cestode, Taenia solium. This infection is caused by ingestion of eggs shed in the feces of a human tapeworm carrier . Pigs and humans become infected by ingesting eggs or gravid proglottids , . Humans are infected either by ingestion of food contaminated with feces, or by autoinfection. In the latter case, a human infected with adult T. solium can ingest eggs produced by that tapeworm, either through fecal contamination or, possibly, from proglottids carried into the stomach by reverse peristalsis. Once eggs are ingested, oncospheres hatch in the intestine , invade the intestinal wall, and migrate to striated muscles, as well as the brain, liver, and other tissues, where they develop into cysticerci . In humans, cysts can cause serious sequellae if they localize in the brain, resulting in neurocysticercosis. The parasite life cycle is completed, resulting in human tapeworm infection, when humans ingest undercooked pork containing cysticerci . Cysts evaginate and attach to the small intestine by their scolex . Adult tapeworms develop, (up to 2 to 7 m in length and produce less than 1000 proglottids, each with approximately 50,000 eggs) and reside in the small intestine for years .
Life cycle and information courtesy of DPDx.
- Page last reviewed: April 22, 2014
- Page last updated: November 2, 2010
- Content source:
- Global Health - Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria
- Notice: Linking to a non-federal site does not constitute an endorsement by HHS, CDC or any of its employees of the sponsors or the information and products presented on the site.