Cysticercosis (Pork Tapeworm Infection)

  • Medical Author:
    Steven Doerr, MD

    Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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What are the complications of cysticercosis?

The potential complications of cysticercosis may include the following:

  • Seizure
  • Stroke
  • Vision changes
  • Cognitive problems
  • Death

In general, the prognosis for the majority of patients with cysticercosis is excellent with proper management. Patients with NCC and seizures have a good prognosis if the patient obtains the proper treatment regimen and if the acute lesions clear on subsequent imaging exams of the brain.

How is cysticercosis prevented?

The prevention of cysticercosis can be achieved through various measures including the following:

  • Public education regarding the parasite and its route of transmission
  • Avoidance of raw or undercooked pork in endemic areas
  • Avoidance of potential fecal-oral routes of transmission through routine hand washing, good personal hygiene, as well as through the proper handling and preparation of foods
  • Meat inspection and the proper disposal of infected meat in endemic areas
  • Improved sanitary measures for human waste disposal in endemic areas
  • Screening contacts of infected individuals and instituting appropriate treatment
  • Developing a vaccine for the prevention of cysticercosis which may be used in the future; currently, there is no vaccine approved for use in humans, though there have been advances in vaccines being used in pigs

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics

REFERENCES:

Garcia, Hector H., Armando E. Gonzalez, Carlton A.W. Evans, Robert H. Gilman. "Taenia solium Cysticercosis." The Lancet 361 Aug. 16, 2003: 547.<http://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/NCIDPD/Garcia%20cysticercosis%20review.pdf>.

Mansur, Mossammat, Martin Montes, and Linda Yancey. "Cysticercosis." eMedicine. July 25, 2008. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/215589-overview>.

Switzerland. World Health Organization. "Taeniasis/Cysticercosis." <http://www.who.int/zoonoses/diseases/taeniasis/en/>.

Tenzer, Ryan, and Howard Blumstein. "Cysticercosis." eMedicine. Apr. 28, 2009. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/781845-overview>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Cysticercosis." Mar. 31, 2008. <http://www.cdc.gov//ncidod/dpd/parasites/cysticercosis/factsht_cysticercosis.htm>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Cysticercosis." July 20, 2009. <http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/html/imagelibrary/Cysticercosis_il.htm>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites -- Cysticercosis." Feb. 1, 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/cysticercosis/>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/10/2015
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