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Tapeworms are flat parasitic worms that can infect humans as well as other animals.

The commonest are the beef tapeworm and the pork tapeworm. The usual mode of infection is by ingesting the larval stage of this parasite in raw or undercooked meat. That is why it is so important to know your meat source and to cook the meat thoroughly, it is now rare to come across this problem in this country due to better animal husbandry.

The tapeworm is flat with a head that has hooks or barbs on it and it uses this to anchor itself in the intestine. The rest of the body is made of numerous segments, some of which will be shed in the faeces and these segments can contain eggs to continue the cycle. Some forms of tapeworm larvae can be ingested and travel to other parts of the body including the brain and muscle. This causes serious damage to those tissues and must be treated immediately, the condition is known as Cysticercosis.

Symptoms of tapeworm infestation would include epigastric pain, weight loss and hunger despite a good intake of food. It is rare in this country but can still be a problem in countries such as South America and Asia.

Additional Medical Conditions:

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