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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. Spirometra erinaceieuropaei’s distribution is cosmopolitan, meaning that it can be found nearly anywhere the parasite can complete it’s life cycle.[1] This species is closely related to Spirometra mansonoides, and little difference occurs between the two. One differences is the uterus, which is a “U” shape in mansonoides, but in the way the parasite conducts its life cycle and how it infects the host, no differences are made.[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]


The genome of S. erinaceieuropaei recovered from the patient's brain was sequenced in 2014 and is available through the WormBase ParaSite website.[5]

Life Cycle[edit]

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.[6]


Although humans can get infected with this parasite, it should be known that they cannot contract it from their cat or pet that is infected by them. People can’t get infected by ingesting the eggs, which is what the pet would be shedding. They would have to eat the procercoid stage, which is found in the intermediate hosts stated in the life cycle. If the meat of an intermediate host, such as chicken, is undercooked and it happens to be contaminated by the parasite, the person can get infected.[7]

Diagnoses and Treatment[edit]

An easy way to determine if an animal is infected with any type of tapeworm is seeing the proglottids in the feces. These would be the white segments that break off from the parasite. To determine the type of species, a fecal sample under the microscope to see the eggs would be the best way. The eggs of any Spirometra species is oval shaped with a distinct operculum at one pole.The treatment for Spirometra erinaceieuropaei is the drug praziquantel, which is normal for tapeworm infections.[8]

See also[edit]


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

Seeker (registration) (blog)

Seeker (registration) (blog)
Sun, 01 May 2016 13:48:45 -0700

It's a tapeworm known as Spirometra erinaceieuropaei that no human would want as a guest. Pests: What's Their Purpose, Anyway? The worm causes sparganosis, meaning inflammation of the body's tissues in response to the parasite. When this occurs in ...


Fri, 22 Apr 2016 13:02:58 -0700

The tapeworm, Spirometra erinaceieuropaei, has been reported only 300 times worldwide since 1953 and never before in the UK. The parasite causes sparganosis: inflammation of the body's tissues and, when this occurs in the brain, it can cause seizures, ...
Opposing Views
Sun, 10 Apr 2016 07:49:03 -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 ...

Outbreak News Today

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 ...


Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:37:30 -0700

Spirometra Erinaceieuropaei Una volta che li consumiamo possono muoversi in tutto il corpo, nei tuoi occhi, nei tessuti e più comunemente nel cervello. Lasciano perplessi persino i medici, come migrano e si depositano per nutrirsi del corpo che stanno ...

Ştirile ROL.ro

Ştirile ROL.ro
Wed, 27 Apr 2016 02:44:50 -0700

Durerile s-au aprofundat după ce a fost într-o călatorie în China, unde s-a dezvoltat un parazit Spirometra erinaceieuropaei. „In momentul in care a revenit la noi, pacientul a raportat o serie de simptome noi”, a declarat Dr. Klotsas. Acest vierme ...

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 ...


Sun, 14 Jun 2015 17:50:04 -0700

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 ...

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