What’s Taenia Saginata?

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Taenia saginata is a parasitic tapeworm carried by cattle that causes taeniasis in humans. Symptoms include proglottids in stool, but some may be asymptomatic. Infection can be prevented by eating well-cooked meat and practicing good hygiene. Treatment involves deworming drugs.

Taenia saginata is a type of parasitic tapeworm carried by cattle. It causes a disease in humans called taeniasis or tapeworm infection. Doctors treat tapeworm infections with single-dose deworming drugs that kill the parasites.
Beef tapeworms are narrow, flat worms that have segmented bodies and both male and female sex organs. Each proglottid, or segment of the worm’s body, contains an entire reproductive system. Adult worms can reach 16-33 feet (5-10 m) in length.

Many people who have Taenia saginata infections are unaware that they have a tapeworm because they have no obvious symptoms. Some individuals complain of pain around the navel, loss of appetite, or stomach pain. In rare cases, tapeworms can create a medical emergency by causing a blockage in the intestines.

The most obvious symptom of a tapeworm infection is small white proglottids, or worm segments, in the stool. These segments may move or twist. They are often filled with tapeworm eggs.

Both cattle and humans serve as hosts for the beef tapeworm. Cows are the worm’s intermediate host. Tapeworm eggs form larval cysts within their muscle tissue but do not reach maturity inside the cow. Humans are the terminal host. The larvae of Taenia saginata reach adulthood inside the intestine.

Many countries use human waste as fertilizer for their crops. Cows become infected by eating feed contaminated with egg-infested human feces. In turn, humans contract beef tapeworm infections by eating undercooked meat from infected cattle. Beef tapeworm infections occur worldwide, but are more prevalent in countries where people regularly consume raw meat.

Doctors can diagnose a Taenia saginata infection by examining a patient’s stool for the presence of eggs or proglottids. They treat the condition using medications such as praziquantel, niclosamide, or albendazole. These treatments usually kill the entire worm, including the head or scolex. If the scolex survives the treatment, it can regenerate and begin releasing eggs within three months of treatment. Washing your hands and practicing good bathroom hygiene helps prevent reinfection.

People can avoid getting Taenia saginata by eating well-cooked meat. The meat must reach temperatures of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) and remain at that temperature for at least five minutes to kill any larval cysts. Cysts usually cannot survive cold temperatures for more than 10 days at 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Freezing meat for 24 hours at minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-20 degrees Celsius) also kills parasites.

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