Taenia Infection Treatment & Management

Updated: Jul 24, 2018
  • Author: Supatida Tengsupakul, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

Most patients with intestinal Taenia infection are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. If adult tapeworms are detected in the stools, anthelmintic therapy (praziquantel or niclosamide) usually suffices. Treating individual with Taeniasis is important because it may prevent cases of cysticercosis. [24] Asymptomatic cysticercosis requires no treatment. However, an asymptomatic individual may not truly be asymptomatic. Cysticercosis can have a long incubation period up to 16 years before developing symptoms. [31] Treating other conditions with albendazole or praziquantel can result in adverse outcomes in undiagnosed cysticercosis individuals due to an inflammatory response from the dying parasite. [24]

Treatment for symptomatic neurocysticercosis (NCC) is controversial and challenging. [32] If anthelmintic therapy is chosen, albendazole [33] , praziquantel, or both [34, 35] are the drug of choice. Because these agents provoke an anti-inflammatory response in the CNS, glucocorticosteroids should be used in conjunction with antihelmintic therapy.

Ocular, ventricular, and spinal lesions may require surgical treatment because treatment with anthelmintic drugs can provoke irreversible drug-induced inflammation.

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Surgical Care

Surgery may be needed if intestinal taeniid infection causes complications such as acute surgical abdomen, appendicitis, or obstructed bile or pancreatic ducts.

Surgical intervention may also be required for cysticercosis and NCC (see Cysticercosis, Neurocysticercosis), [36]  and in some case of intraventricular cysticercosis, removal of the cyst can successfully treat the condition without the need of antihelmintic therapy. [31]

Surgical excision of ocular cysticercosis is the preferred method of treatment.

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Consultations

Consult with an infectious disease specialist for help with a questionable diagnosis, help eradicating the organism, and information on public health issues.

Consult a neurologist and a neurosurgeon for the management of NCC manifestations.

Consult an ophthalmologist for cases involving ocular cysticercosis.

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Diet

Other than adequately cooking pork and beef products to prevent reinfection, taeniid infections require no specific diet.

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Activity

No activity restrictions are necessary.

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Prevention

Prevention and control of T. solium infection as recommended by WHO [3]

  • Mass drug administration for taeniasis
  • Identification and treatment of taeniasis cases
  • Health education, including hygiene and food safety
  • Improved sanitation
  • Improved cultivation and production of pig 
  • Anthelmintic treatment of pigs (oxfendazole)
  • Vaccination of pigs (TSOL18 vaccine)
  • Improved meat inspection and processing of meat products
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