Traveling worm diseases - pig and cattle tapeworm

The pig and cattle tapeworm

The pork and beef tapeworm occurs worldwide, with pork tapeworm being particularly common in Central and South America, Africa, India, China and Southeast Asia. Thanks to strict controls in northern and central Europe, human infestation of tapeworms has become rare. It is estimated that around 40 to 60 million people are infected with the bovine tapeworm, and the pork tapeworm is estimated to be about six million infected. The majority of the infected are free of complaints when pig or cattle bandworm infestation.

Symptoms of tapeworm infestation

In many cases, the tapeworm infestation is noticed only by the departure of worm components in the chair. Mild stomach and intestinal complaints and itching around the anus can occur. The cure rate is at successful treatment at almost 100 percent. With their suction cups on the head and hooks, the tapeworms stick to the intestinal wall. Their body consists of flattened limbs, they resemble flat, white bands and remind of noodles. Tapeworm eggs can get into the human organism via raw food such as minced meat - but in many European countries infections have become scarcer thanks to numerous controls.

The pork tapeworm can measure up to four meters, the cattle tapeworm up to ten meters. Disease symptoms are mostly nonspecific or absent. Abdominal pain, loss of appetite alternated with cravings, weakness and emaciation occur on the bowel movements are sometimes found white worm limbs. While the infestation with the pork tapeworm itself does not cause any typical complaints, it may come due to lack of hygiene to a self-infection by the intake of eggs from the intestinal tract, which is a serious disease.

In the intestine, larvae develop from the eggs, which pierce the intestinal wall and are distributed with the bloodstream in the body. The brain, connective tissue and musculature are preferentially affected. By calcification of the larvae they can become visible after months in the radiograph. This particular form of the disease is called cysticercosis.


It is strongly recommended to pay attention to hygiene when traveling to tropical countries. Raw fruit, vegetables or meat, uncooked water, swimming in unknown waters, all of which can be dangerous. Do not bathe in stagnant water in the affected areas and avoid direct skin contact with soil - barefoot walking should be avoided. Insect repellents and mosquito nets provide some protection from stinging insects that transmit worms. However, it is important to ask the doctor for unclear symptoms and to consider a worm disease, as any early diagnosis promises healing.

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