Alternate Names : Fish tapeworm infection
Diphyllobothriasis is an infection from a fish tapeworm.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
The fish tapeworm (Diphyllobothrium latum), is the largest parasite that infects humans. Humans become infected when they eat raw or undercooked freshwater fish that contain tapeworm cysts.
The infection is seen in many areas where humans eat uncooked or undercooked fish from rivers or lakes. Diphyllobothriasis is seen in Eastern Europe, North and South America, African countries in which freshwater fish are eaten, and in some Asian countries.
After a person has eaten infected fish, the larva begin to grow in the intestine. They are fully grown in 3 – 6 weeks. The adult worm, which is segmented, may reach a length of 30 feet. Eggs are formed in each segment of the worm and are passed in the stool. Occasionally, parts of the worm may also be passed in the stool.
Fish tapeworm infection may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency and megaloblastic anemia.
Pictures & Images
Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some non-living substances such as toxins, chemicals, drugs, and foreign particles. The immune system recognizes antigens and produces antibodies that destroy substances containing antigens.
Review Date : 8/28/2009
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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