MSD Manual

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Cestodes of Public Health Importance

Cestodes of Public Health Importance


Host of Adult Worm

Name of Metacestode (Intermediate) Stage

Measurements of Metacestode

Principal Intermediate Hosts

Site of Metacestode

Taenia saginata

Humans only

Cysticercus “beef measles”

9 × 5 mm


Skeletal and cardiac muscle

Taenia solium

Humans only

Cysticercus “pork measles”

6–10 × 5–10 mm

Pigs, rarely dogs (humans may be both definitive and aberrant intermediate hosts)

Skeletal and cardiac muscle, occasionally nervous system

Diphyllobothrium spp

Humans, dogs, cats, and other fish-eating mammals

Procercoid in copepod, plerocercoid in fish

2–25 × 2.5 mm for plerocercoid

Copepod, then fish

Mesenteric tissues, testes, ovary, muscles of fish

Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato

Dogs, wolves, foxes, and several other wild carnivores

Hydatid cyst

Diameter 50–100 mm, sometimes ≥150 mm

Sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, moose, deer, occasionally humans

Commonly in liver and lungs, occasionally in other organs and tissues

Echinococcus multilocularis

Canids and domestic cats

Alveolar hydatid cyst


Field mice, voles, lemmings, sometimes domestic mammals and humans

Usually liver, various other organs and tissues

a Human infections with the metacestodes of Taenia crassiceps, Taenia multiceps, Mesocestoides spp, and other cestodes not listed here occur rarely. Children occasionally become infected with adult Dipylidium caninum, which appears to have no medical significance but important aesthetic aspects.