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Taenia Saginata Infection

Last updated March 8, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Taenia Saginata Infection is a parasitic infection caused by the tapeworm species Taenia Saginata, also known as the beef tapeworm.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Beef Tapeworm Infection
  • Taeniarhynchus Saginata Infection
  • Taeniasis Saginata Infection

What is Taenia Saginata Infection? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Taenia Saginata Infection is a parasitic infection caused by the tapeworm species Taenia Saginata, also known as the beef tapeworm. The infection is generally acquired by consuming or eating undercooked and contaminated beef
  • This condition may result in nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite, in some individuals; while, in many, no symptoms of infection may be noted. Complications of Taenia Saginata Infection include seizures and eye damage
  • The infection may be diagnosed through a stool examination. Following a diagnosis, Taenia Saginata Infection may be treated using medications that include Niclosamide or Praziquantel
  • The prognosis of Taenia Saginata Infection is generally good with appropriate treatment in many individuals. The condition may be prevented by cooking beef carefully and thoroughly

Who gets Taenia Saginata Infection? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Any individual consuming undercooked and contaminated beef is susceptible to Taenia Saginata Infection
  • Both males and females are equally at risk
  • Infections caused by the beef tapeworm is common in certain regions of the world including:
    • Eastern Europe
    • Russia
    • Eastern Africa
    • Latin America

What are the Risk Factors for Taenia Saginata Infection? (Predisposing Factors)

The major risk factors for acquiring Taenia Saginata Infection are:

  • Eating uncooked or raw beef that is infected
  • Living in poor hygienic and sanitary conditions
  • Living in crowded places
  • Individuals with lowered immune system are at risk for severe infection

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases one's chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Taenia Saginata Infection? (Etiology)

  • Taenia Saginata Infection is a parasitic infection caused by the tapeworm species Taenia Saginata or the beef tapeworm
  • The infection is generally acquired by eating undercooked contaminated beef

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Taenia Saginata Infection?

In many individuals, the infection is asymptomatic causing no signs and symptoms. Depending on the site of infection, the signs and symptoms vary in severity among the affected individuals. The most common site of the infection is the gastrointestinal tract.

The signs and symptoms associated with the onset of Taenia Saginata Infection are:

  • Digestive system associated signs and symptoms such as:
    • Abdominal pain; upset stomach
    • Loss of appetite; loss of weight
    • Nausea
    • Hunger pangs
    • Diarrhea or constipation
  • If the antigens from the parasite are released in blood, it may result in an allergic reaction. In such cases, the signs and symptoms may include:
    • Itching and rashes on skin
    • Increased eosinophil count in blood
  • Passing of tapeworms in the feces
  • Tapeworms can get settled in the appendix, bile and pancreatic ducts causing appendicitis, jaundice, and cholecystitis

How is Taenia Saginata Infection Diagnosed?

Taenia Saginata Infection is diagnosed on the basis of the following test and exams:

  • The passing of the tapeworms in stool is the primary symptom that helps in the diagnosis of Taenia Saginata Infection
  • A primary healthcare provider will conduct a stool test to identify the specific species causing the infection
  • It is difficult to distinguish the eggs, and hence, molecular PCR tests may help in correct specialization of the Taenia infection
  • Since the treatments of T. saginata and T. solium infections are the same, molecular testing is not needed to establish a diagnosis. Molecular testing is generally helpful for epidemiological information

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Taenia Saginata Infection?

The possible complications that can arise from untreated Taenia Saginata Infection include:

  • Larval cyst in the brain known as neurocysticercosis, which can lead to seizures
  • Muscle damage
  • Eye damage, if the infection spreads to the eyes
  • If the infection is blocking the intestines, it can cause intestinal obstruction, which may be a surgical emergency

How is Taenia Saginata Infection Treated?

Medications used in the treatment of Taenia Saginata Infection include:

  • Niclosamide and Praziquantel
  • In case of intestinal obstruction, surgical procedures may be necessary

How can Taenia Saginata Infection be Prevented?

The following preventive measures are helpful in controlling the spread of Taenia Saginata Infection:

  • Freezing meat at 10° C for 9 days is known to kill the parasites
  • Meat must be cooked up to the safest temperature so that the larval cyst is killed before consumption
    • For whole cuts of meat, it should be cooked to at least 145⁰ F and then cooled for 3 minutes before consumption
    • For ground meat, it should be cooked up to at least 160⁰ F. No cooling period is needed for ground meat
  • Food thermometer should be used to check the internal temperature of cooked meat
  • Salting the meat for long durations is also known to kill the parasites
  • The area of grazing cattle needs to be monitored, so that it does not eat graze in the contaminated areas
  • Care should be taken to dispose of human fecal matter properly
  • Regular and frequent washing of hands with soap and water should help prevent the spread of microscopic eggs and infection to others

What is the Prognosis of Taenia Saginata Infection? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • With prompt diagnosis, immediate and effective treatment, the prognosis for Taenia Saginata Infection is excellent
  • The prognosis is guarded, if the infection has spread to the brain, which may occur in some untreated cases

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Taenia Saginata Infection:

Please visit our Infectious Diseases Health Center for more physician-approved health information:


What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 10, 2017
Last updated: March 8, 2018