Infectious Agent

Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and T. saginata or T. asiatica (beef tapeworm).


Eating raw or undercooked contaminated pork or beef.


The highest prevalences are in Latin America, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. Taeniasis has been reported at lower rates in Eastern Europe, Spain, and Portugal. Tapeworm infections are unusual in travelers.

Clinical Presentation

The incubation period is 8–10 weeks for T. solium and 10–14 weeks for T. saginata . Symptoms may include abdominal discomfort, weight loss, anorexia, nausea, insomnia, weakness, perianal pruritus, and nervousness. Symptoms are less likely for T. solium infection than for T. saginata infection.


Presence of eggs, proglottids (segments), or tapeworm antigens in the feces or on anal swabs. Differentiation of T. solium from T. saginata and T. asiatica is based on morphology of the scolex and gravid proglottids.


Praziquantel is the drug of choice, except in the setting of symptomatic neurocysticercosis (see Cysticercosis in this chapter). Niclosamide is an alternative but is not as widely available.


Avoid undercooked meat.

CDC website: www.cdc.gov/parasites/taeniasis


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  3. Zammarchi L, Bonati M, Strohmeyer M, Albonico M, Requena-Mendez A, Bisoffi Z, et al. Screening, diagnosis and management of human cysticercosis and Taenia solium taeniasis: technical recommendations by the COHEMI project study group. Trop Med Int Health. 2017 Jul;22(7):881–94.


Susan Montgomery