Sparganosis is infection with larvae of Spirometra spp or Sparganum proliferum tapeworms.
(See also Overview of Tapeworm Infection.)
Adult Spirometra spp and Sparganum proliferum tapeworms infect dogs, cats, and other carnivores. Eggs are passed into freshwater where they are ingested by copepods (eg, Cyclops). Fish, reptiles, and amphibians (including frogs) ingest them and serve as intermediate hosts.
Humans and other mammals become infected by
In humans, larvae typically migrate to subcutaneous tissue or muscle and form slowly growing masses. Other sites, including the CNS, may be involved but are much less common. Symptoms are caused by mass effect.
Diagnosis of sparganosis is typically made after surgical removal, although it may be suggested when imaging detects a mass.
Surgery is also the primary treatment and is typically done for symptomatic, space-occupying lesions. Generally, treatment with anthelmintics has not been effective.