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Diphyllobothrium anaemia

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Anaemia caused by the infestation of fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium


Diphyllobothrium anaemia is a rare form of macrocytic anaemia caused by the infestation of the tapeworm from the genus Diphyllobothrium. Diphyllobothrium is a genus from the class Cestoda of the phylum Platyhelminthes. The species that is commonly associated with this condition is Diphyllobothrium latum. The species is a fish tapeworm that infests the intestine of its definitive host, e.g. humans. It is regarded as the giant tapeworm because it can reach about ten to twelve meters long. The worm infests the intestine of the definitive host. It attaches to the intestinal wall and grow by absorbing nutrients from food that is digested in the intestine. Humans get the worm when they ingest an uncooked fish infected with Diphyllobothrium larvae. Infestation by Diphyllobothrium is referred to as diphyllobothriasis. It is often asymptomatic. However, when symptoms do occur they typically include weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, nausea, and vitamin B12 deficiency. The latter is often associated with pernicious macrocytic anaemia.

This type of anaemia occurs especially in Finland where in earlier investigations, the frequency of anaemia associated with D. latum was about one case in 5,000-10,000 worm carriers. The parasite was also reported to be found even in children under 1 year of age.1


  • diphyllobothrium anemia


  • fish tapeworm anaemia

See also:

1 von Bonsdorff, B. (1948). Pernicious anemia caused by Diphyllobothrium latum, in the light of recent investigations. Blood, 3(1), 91-102. Accessed August 25, 2016. Retrieved from