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Disease definition

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).


Classification level: Disorder

  • Bothriocephalosis

Prevalence: <1 / 1 000 000

Inheritance: Not applicable

Age of onset: All ages

ICD-10: B70.0

ICD-11: 1F71

UMLS: C0012561

MeSH: D004169

GARD: 942

MedDRA: 10013029


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.

Diagnostic methods

Diagnosis is made by examination of the stools.

Management and treatment

Standard tapeworm treatments (niclosamide or praziquantel) are effective at treating this parasitosis.

Last update: December 2006 - Expert reviewer(s): Dr Luc PARIS
A summary on this disease is available in Français (2006) Español (2006) Nederlands (2006)
Additional information

Further information on this disease

Research activities on this disease

Specialised Social Services

Newborn screening

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