Taenia solium is a cestode, or tapeworm. It can lead to two different infections in humans, where one comes from larval ingestion, and the other comes from egg ingestion.
Taeniasis describes the infection that occurs from ingesting the larval form of taenia solium. It leads to infection of the small intestines, and may be asymptomatic.
Taeniasis can be developed when humans ingest undercooked pork meat, which contains larval cysts.
The larvae (cysticerci), once ingested, grows into an adult worm in the human small intestines. This infection is generally harmless and can be asymptomatic in patients. Sometimes, patients can complain of GI upset.
Cysticercosis is the more dangerous illness derived from Taenia solium. It occurs when larval eggs are ingested. The larvae (cysticerci) mature in the body and form cysts that embed into varying parts of the human body (skin, muscles, CNS).
Cysticercosis occurs from the ingestion of cestode eggs, leading to larval cysts within the body. This disease process is more serious than taeniasis.
The ingestion of eggs in cysticercosis leads to larval cysts being formed in the human host. These cysts can be formed in the skin, muscles or central nervous system. Neurocysticercosis is the most severe form, affecting the brain, which is a cause of epilepsy.
Albendazole is an antihelmintic medication which is indicated for treating neurocysticercosis.
Praziquantel is a broad-spectrum antihelmintic medication that is used to treat this flatworm infection. It is especially helpful for treating intestinal taeniasis, or forms of cysticercosis (with exception to neurocysticercosis).
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