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Spirometra erinaceieuropaei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Platyhelminthes
Class: Cestoda
Subclass: Eucestoda
Order: Pseudophyllidea
Family: Diphyllobothriidae
Genus: Spirometra
Species: S. erinaceieuropaei
Binomial name
Spirometra erinaceieuropaei
(Rudolphi, 1819) Mueller, 1937

Spirometra erinaceieuropaei is a tapeworm that infects domestic animals and humans. In humans infection is called sparganosis. The worm has an interesting lifecycle. The adult worm is present in the small intestine of cats and dogs where it may grow as long as 1.5 metres. Eggs from the worm are passed with the host feces, when they develop into a procercoid larva. This larva may be directly ingested by humans or may enter an intermediate host which include frogs, birds, snakes, rats and mice and become a plerocercoid larva. When cats, dogs, foxes or wolves eat the intermediate host the worm completes its life cycle becoming an egg producing adult. Because humans would normally ingest the worm at the procercoid stage and are not usually eaten by cats and dogs, the human is a dead-end host.

In 2014 British man was found to have been infected by the tapeworm from an unknown cause (possibly a traditional frog meat poultice) while in China.[1] The parasitic worm was recorded on successive MRI scans of his brain, moving location by about 5 cm before doctors realized it was alive. The 50-year-old first visited doctors in 2008 suffering from headaches, seizures, memory loss, and complaining that his sense of smell had changed. The 1-cm ribbon-shaped larval worm was removed during a surgical procedure and the man recovered.[2]


The genome of S. erinaceieuropaei recovered from the patient's brain was sequenced in 2014 and is available through the WormBase ParaSite website.[3]

See also[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirometra_erinaceieuropaei — Please support Wikipedia.
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136 news items


New Scientist
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:06:43 -0800

Genetic sequencing identified it as Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, a rare species of tapeworm found in China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. Just 300 human infections have been reported since 1953, and not all of them in the brain. The parasite starts ...

Health Aim

Health Aim
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 04:37:30 -0700

Another case reported earlier this year was with the parasite Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, a type of tapeworm that attacked a man's brain. The worms in his brain caused seizures and weakness in his legs, and there was no other way to remove the worms ...


Tue, 20 Jan 2015 03:02:47 -0800

The patient, who was of Chinese descent, had recently visited China, which along with South Korea, Japan and Thailand, has more regular occurrences of the parasite known as Spirometra erinaceieuropaei. Four years earlier the man had first experienced ...


Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:38:50 -0800

The worm, which is called Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, is extremely rare, and can cause seizures and memory loss. Cases have typically popped up in the East, potentially caused by small infected shelfish, raw reptile or frog meat. The 1-centimeter-long ...


Tue, 16 Jun 2015 01:48:48 -0700

The 50-year-old man who first sought medical attention four years earlier, after getting headaches, was discovered in 2013 to have the Spirometra erinaceieuropaei tapeworm living in his brain, causing seizures and weakness in his legs. "It had moved ...


Fri, 23 Jan 2015 04:38:35 -0800

But as the worm moved over the years, the symptoms changed. In 2013, doctors finally made the horrifying discovery: They diagnosed him with Sparganosis, which is a parasitic infection caused by the tapeworm Spirometra erinaceieuropaei. "It had moved ...


Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:21:23 -0800

And researchers sequenced the centimeter-long worm upon its extraction to find that it had a genome 10 times larger than any other tapeworm sequenced—a fact that may account for Spirometra erinaceieuropaei's ability to infect numerous hosts. “Humans ...

Medical News Today

Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:35:24 -0800

Tapeworms usually infect the gut, causing symptoms such as weakness, weight loss and abdominal pain. But the larvae of some species can reach the eyes, brain and spinal cord. The species in this case, Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, is one such parasite.

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