Steven Doerr, MD
Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is cysticercosis?
- What causes cysticercosis?
- How is cysticercosis transmitted?
- What are the symptoms of cysticercosis?
- How is cysticercosis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for cysticercosis?
- What are the complications of cysticercosis?
- How is cysticercosis prevented?
- Cysticercosis At A Glance
What causes cysticercosis?
Cysticercosis is caused by the dissemination of the larval form of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. When the eggs of Taenia solium are ingested by humans, the tapeworm eggs hatch and the embryos penetrate the intestinal wall and reach the bloodstream. The formation of cysts in different body tissues leads to the development of symptoms, which will vary depending on the location and number of cysts.
How is cysticercosis transmitted?
Humans are the host for Taenia solium, and they may carry the tapeworm in their intestine, often without symptoms. The tapeworm eggs are periodically shed in the feces by the human reservoir, and typically pigs ingest the eggs in contaminated food or water. The pigs subsequently become infected and develop cysticerci in their body tissue. When humans eat infected raw or undercooked pork, the life cycle of the tapeworm is complete and the cycle continues.
Human cysticercosis, however, develops after humans ingest Taenia solium eggs. The eggs are typically spread via food, water, or surfaces contaminated with infected feces. Oftentimes, the eggs may be spread from the hands of infected food handlers who do not clean their hands or from foods fertilized/irrigated with water containing infected human feces. Though the source of this fecal-oral transmission often occurs from other infected individuals, it is also possible for individuals who carry the tapeworm to autoinfect themselves. The life cycle of T. solium is shown below, and pictures of the cysts in tissues can be found in the last reference listed below.
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