Epidemiology & Risk Factors
The tapeworms that cause taeniasis (Taenia saginata, T. solium, and T. asiatica) are found worldwide. Eating raw or undercooked beef or pork is the primary risk factor for acquiring taeniasis. Persons who don't eat raw or undercooked beef or pork are not likely to get taeniasis.
Infections with T. saginata occur wherever contaminated raw beef is eaten, particularly in Eastern Europe, Russia, eastern Africa and Latin America. Taeniasis due to T. saginata is rare in the United States, except in places where cattle and people are concentrated and sanitation is poor, such as around feed lots when cattle can be exposed to human feces. Tapeworm infections due to T. solium are more prevalent in under-developed communities with poor sanitation and where people eat raw or undercooked pork. Higher rates of illness have been seen in people in Latin America, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Asia. Taenia solium taeniasis is seen in the United States, typically among Latin American immigrants. Taenia asiatica is limited to Asia and is seen mostly in the Republic of Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand.
A disease called cysticercosis can occur when T. solium tapeworm eggs are ingested. For example, people with poor hygiene who have taeniasis -- with or without symptoms -- will shed tapeworm eggs in their feces and might accidentally contaminate their environment. This can lead to transmission of cysticercosis to themselves or others.
More on: Cysticercosis