Taeniasis is a parasitic disease caused by tapeworm infection, infecting humans and animals. Parasites are organisms that attach themselves to other organisms to survive. Some tapeworms can continue to grow to a length of 9 meters. But generally, a person does not realize if in the body there is a tapeworm until he saw the body part of the worm that is white like a grain of rice on the dirt.
Some factors that cause a person more at risk of taeniasis are:
- Cleanliness is bad. Rarely self-cleaning and bathing will increase the risk of contracting tapeworm through the mouth.
- Contact with animal feces. This risk will be greater for someone who works at a farm where the disposal of human and animal waste is not as it should be.
- Traveling to developing countries. Poor sanitation increases the risk of infection.
- Eat raw or undercooked meat. Improper cooking can not kill eggs and tapeworm larvae present in meat.
- Living in a taeniasis endemic area.
- People affected by HIV, AIDS, organ transplant recipients, diabetes, undergoing chemotherapy susceptible to these worm infections can even be complicated because there is a weakening of the immune system.
- Hidatidosa Disease. The disease is caused by dog tapeworm larvae. The two most affected organs are the lungs and liver, although the larvae can also settle in the bone or brain.
- Digestion clogged. If the tapeworm grows too big, it will clog the digestive tract.
- Disorders of the central nervous system and the brain, is a dangerous complication of invasive infection of tapeworms originating from pigs.
- Disruption of organ function. When worm larvae migrate to organs, they will turn into enlarged cysts, which can interfere with organ work. The migration of the tapeworm larvae out of the digestive system is commonly called cysticercosis.
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Symptoms of Taeniasis
Symptoms are something that is felt and told by the sufferer. In many cases, people with taeniasis do not feel any symptoms. The type of symptoms that are felt will depend on the type of tapeworm that enters the body.
However, if any, the symptoms are generally felt by people with taeniasis, namely:
- Pain in the upper abdomen.
- Weight loss down for no apparent reason.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Decreased appetite.
- Indigestion (diarrhea).
- Irritation around the anus.
- In the visible stool worms or worm eggs.
- The appearance of a bump.
- Bacterial infection.
- Cough or pain in the lungs due to abscess (pus).
- Allergic reactions to larvae.
- Neurological symptoms, including convulsions.
Causes of Taeniasis
Taeniasis will begin when a person swallows an egg or tapeworm larvae. If a person consumes food or drink contaminated with human or animal waste containing tapeworms, he swallows small tapeworm eggs. After swallowing, the eggs will develop into larvae in the digestive tract.
Humans can also ingest tapeworm larva hidden in raw or undercooked animal meat. Adult tapeworm can extend to 15 meters and can survive up to 30 years in the host body.
Some types of tapeworms that can infect humans are:
- Tapeworm ribbons of beef and pork. This type of tapeworm larvae can enter the body if humans eat meat that is not cooked.
- Fish tapeworm. Infections from fish tapeworms may occur when a person eats a fish meat that is not cooked properly.
- Dwarf tapeworms. The eggs of the dwarf tapeworms can move from one person to another if the level of environmental hygiene is low. Insects such as flies can carry worm eggs to be transmitted to humans through food.
- Dog tapeworm. Sometimes, humans can be infected with dog tapeworms commonly called hydatidiform disease.
Diagnosis of Taeniasis
Diagnosis is a doctor's step to identify a disease or condition based on symptoms and signs experienced by the patient. To diagnose taeniasis the doctor will perform several actions such as:
- Analysis of stool samples. The doctor will take the stool sample of the patient to examine the egg and worm larvae in the stool in the laboratory.
- Blood test. The doctor will ask for blood samples to be investigated if the patient is suspected of having an invasive infection. And check whether the antibodies have formed against the infection that occurred.
- Imaging test. Doctors may use some imaging tests such as CT-scan, X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound to identify invasive infections.
- Evaluation of organ function. Check whether organs are functioning normally.
Treatment and Prevention of Taeniasis
In some cases, people with taeniasis can recover without treatment. The tapeworm will come out of the body by itself. To treat taeniasis, doctors usually prescribe some medications such as praziquantel, albendazole, and nitazoxanide. However, these drugs only eradicate the adult tapeworm only.
For invasive infections will be handled based on the location and effects of infection. Some handling steps for invasive infections are:
- Antelmintic. This type of drug can kill the worm parasite and make the worm out of the digestive tract along with the dirt.
- Shunt installation. If invasive infections cause fluid accumulation in the brain, your doctor will recommend the installation of a permanent tube to drain the liquid.
- Anti-epilepsy therapy. If taeniasis leads to convulsions, the doctor will suggest anti-epileptic therapy.
- Surgery. Surgery can also be performed by a doctor to remove a tapeworm cyst that interferes with organ function.
- Anti-inflammatory therapy. This therapy is necessary because the tapeworm cyst that will die can cause inflammation of the tissues or organs.
- Avoid eating meat, fish and pork that is not perfectly ripe.
- Wash and cook all fruits and vegetables before eating.
- For those who have farms, dispose of manure and man properly, so as not to pollute food and drink.
- Please be careful when eating foods and beverages while in tandem-prone areas (usually in developing countries).
- Bring a pet to the vet if infected by a tapeworm.
- Cook the meat until it is fully cooked.
- Freeze meat for at least 12 hours, and fish at least 24 hours to kill eggs and tapeworm larvae.
- Wash hands with soap before and after processing food, before meals, and after getting out of the toilet.