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People, Parasites, and PlowsharesLearning From Our Body's Most Terrifying Invaders$
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Dickson Despommier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161947

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161947.001.0001

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The Long and the Short of It

The Long and the Short of It

Tapeworms—Taenia saginata, Taenia solium, Diphyllobothrium latum, Echinococcus granulosus, and Echinococcus multilocularis

Chapter:
(p.113) 6 The Long and the Short of It
Source:
People, Parasites, and Plowshares
Author(s):

Dickson D. Despommier

William C. Campbell

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231161947.003.0006

This chapter studies the nature of tapeworms. Tapeworms get their common name from their off-putting resemblance to a white cloth tape measure. None of them have direct life cycles—it cannot be acquired simply by eating food or water contaminated by the tapeworms' eggs. Instead, it can only be transmitted by ingesting an intermediate host that harbors immature parasite. Once inside the body, the worm uses its scolex to attach to the surface of the upper intestinal tract, ensuring that it will not be swept down to the large intestine. Tape worms have no mouth, no digestive system, and no anus. They get their nutrients through microvilli—a microscopic projection that helps them absorb small nutrient molecules like amino acids, sugars, fats, nucleic acids, and vitamins. The chapter further examines specific types of tapeworms: Taenia saginata, Taenia solium, Diphyllobothrium latum, Echinococcus granulosus, and Echinococcus multilocularis.

Keywords:   tapeworms, microvilli, Taenia saginata, Taenia solium, Diphyllobothrium latum, Echinococcus granulosus, Echinococcus multilocularis, parasitic infection

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