Taenia: Taeniasis and Cysticercosis
Posted on : 30-01-2017


The adult tapeworm and the cysticercus larvae are harmful to man.  The adult tape worm causes taeniasis and the cysticercus larva causes cysticercosis.

Taeniasis: The symptoms of taeniasis include pain in abdomen, anemia and giddiness, obstruction to passage of food, vomiting, indigestion and eosinophilia.

Cysticercosis: This infection is caused due to the consumption of the infected food and water with oncospheres. When the scolex of the Taenia causes injury to the intestinal wall, it triggers reverse peristalsis and then some gravid proglottids are pushed back in to the stomach. This process is called as retroinfection or autoinfection. The oncospheres may also infect non-pork eaters through contaminated food and water and this is called heteroinfection. The oncospheres released from the gravid proglottids ultimately reach the voluntary muscles and transform themselves into cysticercus larvae. They form cysts in the heart, brain, eye, liver and muscles. It causes necrosis in the brain and results in the disintegration of the living cells. Epilepsy is the most common manifestation in the neuro cysticercosis in man. This disease is more dangerous than taeniasis and is mostly found in children.

Prevention of Taeniasis

* Consumption of properly cooked pork is the important point to be noted to prevent this disease.

* Also selling of the measly pork should be prohibited

* Open defecation by humans must be discouraged

* Hygienic and healthy habits must be inculcated.

Differences between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata

Characters Taenia solium
Taenia saginata
Definitive host Human Human
Intermediate host Pig Cattle
Disease caused Taeniasis and cycticercosis Only Taeniasis
Disease transmission By eating measly pork By eating measly beef
Size of Adult worm 2-7 meters 2-25 meters
  • Scolex is armed type
  • Scolex head is globular with four circular suckers
  • Head has a rostellum with two rows of alternating large and small hooks
  • Scolex is unarmed type
  • Scolex head is quadrate with four circular suckers
  • Head does not have rostellum or hooks
  •  A total of 1000 proglottids are present
  • 5-6 Gravid proglottids are expelled at a time
  • 50,000 eggs are produced per proglottid
  • A total of 1000-2000 proglottids are present
  • Only one Gravid proglottid is expelled at a time
  • 100,000 eggs are produced per proglottid

Eggs are infectious to humans,

in other words humans who feed on the eggs of T. solium develop cysticercosis

Eggs are NOT infectious to humans,

in other words humans who feed on the eggs of T. saginata DO NOT develop cysticercosis.


  1. What is the difference between taeniasis and cycticercosis?
  2. Write about the preventive measurements of Taeniasis.
  3. Write the differences between Taenia solium and Taenia saginata.

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