Atlas of foodborne infections
transmitted by contaminated food and water

Atlas of Patogens Contents Information sources Glossary Administration

Food-borne cestodes

CZ: tasemnice
EN: tapeworms

Meat and Meat Products
Fish and Fish Products
Fruits and Vegetables
Water and Beverages


Foodborne Disease:
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diphyllobothriosis, taeniosis

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Cestodes are tapeworms and the species of major concern associated with consumption of fish is the fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium latum. Humans are one of the definitive hosts, along with other fish-eating mammals. Freshwater copepods and fish are the intermediate hosts. The plerocercoid is present in the flesh of the fish and infects humans following the consumption of raw or minimally processed fish. The recorded epidemiology of D. latum shows it to be prevalent in many countries worldwide. The incidence is relatively high in Scandinavia and the Baltic region of Europe. Diphyllobothriosis in humans can be prevented by cooking or freezing fish before consumption. Infections with tapeworms are also associated with eating undercooked or raw pork and beef.

Taenia saginata (the beef tapeworm) and Taenia solium (the pork tapeworm) are unique among parasites in that they have no vascular, respiratory or digestive systems.

Humans are their definitive hosts and they rely solely on the human body for all of their nourishment. Infections can be prevented by sanitary disposal and treatment of human waste and by thorough cooking and freezing of contaminated pork and beef.


Diphyllobothrium latum
Source: Adult tapeworm of Diphyllobothrium latum
Taenia saginata
Source: Adult tapeworm of Taenia saginata - single proglotids
Taenia solium
Source: Different types of cestode intermediate stages

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