Fish tapeworm


Diphyllobothriasis is parasitism with the fish tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum. Human helminthization occurs by consuming raw or undercooked fish. The parasite is better known as fish tapeworm.

This species develops in several hosts such as small organisms in water most commonly crabs and then continues its development in fish which usually feed on crabs. A person becomes helminthized after swallowing improperly prepared freshwater fish containing the larvae of the tapeworm – coracidia.

This disease is most common in regions where people have the habit of eating raw or poorly cooked fish from rivers and lakes.

There is no such practice in our country, but there is a risk when consuming fish in establishments where it is possible that the workers did not comply with all the hygienic standards for the preparation of the fish. The fish tapeworm is extremely dangerous because its length reaches from 2 to 20 meters.

What are the symptoms?

In most cases, parasitosis is asymptomatic. Worms are most often discovered when people notice the eggs or parts of them in their stool.

The most common symptoms are:

• Diarrhea and general weakness;
• Stomach cramps and stomach pains;
• Weakness and unusual weight loss;

What causes it?

After a person consumes contaminated fish, the tapeworm larvae enter their intestines, taking between 3 and 6 weeks for the larvae to reach sexual maturity, as the adult tapeworm can sometimes grow up to 30 meters. This is the biggest parasite that can helminthize a person.

Treatment for Diphyllobothriasis

Tapeworm infestation is usually unnoticeable, but no one wants to grow tapeworms in their intestines. Fortunately, tapeworms can be killed with single dose of specific medications. There are 2 types of drugs that destroy tapeworms – prazinquantel and niclosamide.

Prazinquantel is used for various types of parasitosis. It causes damage to the cell surface of helminths, making them permeable to calcium ions, which causes initial paralysis of the worm and subsequent damage to its tegument . In this state, the tapeworm is excreted with the feces.

Niclosamide is prescribed specifically for worming with tapeworms. The drug kills the tapeworm and so the dead parasite passes in the feces and is excreted from the body.

It is important to start treatment because fish tapeworm can cause serious problems such as anemia and intestinal obstruction. The medicine is taken on an empty stomach in the morning or in the evening 3-4 hours after a light dinner.

On the day when the single dose is taken, liquid or semi-liquid easily digestible food such as soup, liquid porridge, mashed potatoes, milk, sour fruit juices, sweet tea, etc. is recommended. Before taking the medicinal dose, drink a glass of water with 2 grams of sodium bicarbonate dissolved in it.

How can we easily prevent fish tapeworm?

• When cooking fish, cook it at a minimum temperature of 54 degrees Celsius.
• Freeze fish at temperature below -10 degrees Celsius.
• Follow safe food preparation and storage standards such as washing before and after cooking fish to avoid cross-contamination of fruit and vegetables.
• Avoid contact with any animals known to be infected with tapeworms.
• Be very careful when going to populated areas in the country or abroad where there is no sewage. This also applies if you travel to, for example, Africa, where opublic sanitary control is at a very low level.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button