Atlas of livestock parasites
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Cysticercus bovis



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Cysticercus bovis

Adult tapeworm is Taenia saginata.
Beef tapeworm of man, beef measles

General Description:
The principal host of this parasite is man. Cattle serve as the intermediate host. In cattle the parasite appears as small, fluid-filled cysts which give spotty or measle-like appearance to the beef muscle.

Life Cycle:

Proglottids of the tapeworm leave man in the feces and are eaten by cattle. The eggs in the proglottids hatch in the intestine. Immature forms penetrate the gut wall and are carried in the blood to muscles where they become a cysticereus which is a bladder worm with a scolex inside. Man is infected by eating inadequately cooked measly beef containing viable cysticerci. Adults develop in man in 3 weeks or more.

Adults in small intestine of man. Cysticerci in striated muscles of cattle, anywhere in the body.

Geographical Distribution:



Inspection of cattle carcasses for Cysticercus bovis in order to avoid human consumption is time consuming and expensive. Carcasses containing beef measles are condemned. Humans infected with Taenia tapeworms may be unaffected or have loss of appetite and diarrhea. Cattle are usually unaffected by Cysticercus bovis.

Effect on Host:

Full-grown bladder worms are 7.5 to 9 mm by 5.5 mm and are not harmful to cattle.

Diagnostic Information:

Infected humans may show proglottids in feces.


Humans with Taenia saginata shed eggs in feces. Cattle exposed to the tapeworm eggs may become infected. For this reason animals should not be exposed to human feces in any way. Water used for livestock purposes, either for drinking or pasture irrigation, should be free of fecal contamination. The disease is spread because of the practice of irrigating farms with human sewage.


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