Bothriocephalosis is a mammalian cosmopolitan intestinal parasitosis. In addition to non-specific digestive problems (nausea, abdominal pain, lack of appetite), bothriocephalosis provokes an anaemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency that resembles Biermer anaemia (anaemia characterised by abnormally large red blood cells).
The prevalence is Europe is unknown but more than 10 cases are reported each year, principally from the Italian, Swiss and French Alps.
It is an adult cestodosis caused by the large (more than 10 metres) fish tapeworm Diphyllobothrium latum. The life cycle of the parasite is complex and involves two intermediate hosts: a microscopic crustacean, followed by a freshwater fish. Mammals are contaminated through eating fleshy parts of lightly cooked, smoked or undersalted fish.
Diagnosis is made by examination of the stools.
Standard tapeworm treatments (niclosamide or praziquantel) are effective at treating this parasitosis.Last update: December 2006 - Expert reviewer(s): Dr Luc PARIS
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