Fish tapeworm anemia

Fish tapeworm anemia: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:A rare form of macrocytic anemia associated with Diphyllobothrium latum (D. latum) infection, especially in Kingdom of Sweden & Finland. This is a parasitic infection.FishA parasite is an organism that lives off of or inside of another organism, called a host, during all or part of its life. This is a type of symbiotic relationship in which the parasite needs the host in order to live. The parasite obtains nourishment and/or protection from its host. A parasite may or may not harm the host, but the host never benefits from the parasite. Many organisms, including some plants, animals, spiders, crustaceans, bacteria, and worms, are considered parasites. Parasites may enter the body through openings in the body, including the skin and mouth. Each type of parasite affects the human body differently. Some feed on humans cells (such as RBCs), while others live in the intestines and absorb nutrients from food that is consumed by the host. Parasites can cause many life-threatening complications including demise of the host.The fish tapeworm is the largest parasite that infects humans. Humans become infected when they eat raw or undercooked freshwater fish that contain fish tapeworm cysts.The infection is seen in many areas where humans eat uncooked or undercooked fish from rivers or lakes, including:
  • African countries in which freshwater fish are eaten.
  • Scandinavia.
  • Eastern Europe.
  • North and South America.
  • Asia.
After a person has eaten infected fish, the larvae begin to grow in the intestine. Larvae are fully grown in 3 - 6 weeks. The adult worm, which is segmented, may reach a length of 10-12 meters. Eggs are formed in each segment of the worm and are passed in the stool. Sometimes, parts of the worm may also be passed in the stool.Symptoms:Many people are asymptomatic, if symptoms occurs they may include
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Weakness.
  • Weight loss.
  • Nausea & vomiting.
  • Fish tapeworm infection may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency and megaloblastic anemia.
Diagnosis:People who are infected sometimes pass segments of worm in their stools. These segments can be seen in the stool.Tests may include:
  • Complete blood count, including differential.
  • Stool examination for eggs and parasites.
  • Endoscopy.
Treatment:Adult tapeworms are easily treated with praziquantel. A single oral dose of 25 mg/kg is highly effective against human D. latum infections. A lower dose of 20 mg/kg was effective against human infections with D. pacificum. Side effects of the drug is positive and may include headache, malaise, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, and rarely urticaria.NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. 

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