Tapeworm infection

Last reviewed: 24 Aug 2022
Last updated: 15 Feb 2019

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • worm segments in stool
  • increased intracranial pressure
  • seizures
  • hepatomegaly
  • cough
  • hemoptysis
  • allergy manifestations
  • anemia
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • asymptomatic
  • vague intestinal symptoms
  • sleep disturbance
  • headaches
  • rash
  • pyrexia
  • visual disturbances
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • living on farms
  • poor hygiene
  • eating or handling undercooked meat
  • eating or handling undercooked fish or crustaceans
  • ingestion of contaminated water
  • dog owners
  • outdoor pursuits
  • children
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • stool examination
  • complete blood count
  • enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot (EITB)
  • Echinococcus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blot serology
  • ultrasound
  • computed tomography of brain
  • magnetic resonance imaging of brain/spine
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • screening for tuberculosis and strongyloidiasis
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

INITIAL

central nervous system disease: with elevated intracranial pressure

ACUTE

intestinal disease

central nervous system disease: without elevated intracranial pressure

hepatic or thoracic disease

Contributors

Authors

Jose A. Serpa, MD, MS, CTropMed

Associate Professor of Medicine

Program Director

Infectious Diseases Fellowship

Baylor College of Medicine

Houston

TX

Disclosures

JAS declares that he has no competing interests.

Andrew Chou, MD

Assistant Professor

Infectious Diseases

Baylor College of Medicine

Houston

TX

Disclosures

AC declares that he has no competing interests.

Acknowledgements

Dr Jose A. Serpa and Dr Andrew Chou would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Christina Coyle and Dr Maheen Saeed, previous contributors to this topic.

Disclosures

CC is an author of several references cited in this topic. MS declares that she has no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

William A. Petri, Jr, MD, PhD, FACP

Chief and Professor of Medicine

Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health

University of Virginia Health System

Charlottesville

VA

Disclosures

WAP declares that he has no competing interests.

Linda Kalilani, MBBS, MPhil, PhD

Epidemiologist

College of Medicine

University of Malawi

Zomba

Malawi

Disclosures

LK declares that she has no competing interests.

Paul Roberts, MD

Assistant Professor

Family Medicine

Mayo Clinic

Jacksonville

FL

Disclosures

PR declares that he has no competing interests.

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