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J Parasitol. 2004 Aug;90(4):914-6.

Portrait of human tapeworms.

Author information

1
Departamento de Microbiologia y Parasitologia, Facultad de Medicina, UNAM, Mexico DF 04510, Mexico. flisser@servidor.unam.mx

Abstract

The tapeworms of the genus Taenia that infect human beings are T. solium, T. saginata and T. saginata asiatica. Taenia solium and T. saginata exhibit unequivocal features that characterize them; in contrast, only recent DNA studies, morphological characteristics, and epidemiological and sanitary aspects indicate that T. saginata asiatica is a subspecies of T. saginata. These 3 tapeworms occur in humans in their adult stage, and the intermediate hosts are pigs for T. solium and T. saginata asiatica and cows for T. saginata. Their identification is crucial considering the migratory increase from Asia to the Western Hemisphere and the fact that these tapeworms coexist in the same environment in Asia; furthermore, it is estimated that movement in both directions across the United States-Mexico border exceeds 200 million persons per yr, and thus, opportunities for acquiring and transporting T. solium infections are multiplied. It is not easy to distinguish among these tapeworms; therefore, a comparative diagram of the 3 parasites is shown in this article, which will facilitate their identification. All morphological features, some of which allow for identification, are clear and can be easily distinguished among the 3 tapeworms.

PMID:
15357104
DOI:
10.1645/GE-3354CC
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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