Taenia multiceps and T. serialis, rare causes of human infection, are acquired by accidental ingestion of eggs from dog feces.
Canines are the definitive hosts for adult T. multiceps and T. seralis tapeworms; sheep and other herbivorous animals are intermediate hosts. Unwitting ingestion of material contaminated by dog feces causes human disease. The larvae invade and form a cyst (coenurus) in human tissue, usually in the CNS.
Symptoms require several years to develop and depend on the organ infected. Involvement of the brain causes increased intracranial pressure, seizures, loss of consciousness, and focal neurologic deficits.
Diagnosis is typically made after surgical removal, which is also the primary treatment. Surgery is typically done for symptomatic, space-occupying lesions.
Last full review/revision August 2013 by Richard D. Pearson, MD
Content last modified October 2013