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noun, plural: diphyllobothriases

Infection by fish tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium


Diphyllobothriasis is a type of helminthiasis. In particular, it is caused by the tapeworm Diphyllobothrium, especially D. latum. The species is a fish tapeworm that infests the intestine of its definitive host, e.g. humans. It occurs when the host ingests raw or undercooked fish infected with the larva of Diphyllobothrium latum. The worm is considered as the longest (or giant) tapeworm that infests humans. It can reach about ten to twelve meters long. The worm attaches on the intestinal wall and feed by absorbing nutrients from food digested in the intestine.

Fish tapeworms are more common in cold, fresh water lakes such as the Great lakes area. Segments of the worm and blood may occasionally be passed in the stools. Symptoms may include abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, weight loss, and nausea. Infection can also lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. Diagnosis is via microscopic examination of the stools. The presence of Diphyllobothrium eggs or proglottids in stool indicates fish tapeworm infection. Treatment is with single dose niclosamide.


  • Fish tapeworm infection
  • dibothriocepheliasis1

See also:

1 diphyllobothriasis. (n.d.) Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary. (2012). Retrieved from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/diphyllobothriasis