Spirometra erinaceieuropaei

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Spirometra erinaceieuropaei
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Platyhelminthes
Class: Cestoda
Subclass: Eucestoda
Order: Pseudophyllidea
Family: Diphyllobothriidae
Genus: Spirometra
Species: S. erinaceieuropaei
Binomial name
Spirometra erinaceieuropaei
(Rudolphi, 1819) Mueller, 1937

Spirometra erinaceieuropaei is a tapeworm that infects domestic animals and humans. In humans infection is called sparganosis. The worm has an interesting lifecycle, the adult worm is present in the small intestine of cats and dogs where it may grow as long as 1.5 metres. Eggs from the worm are passed with the host feces, when they develop into a procercoid larva. This larva may be directly ingested by humans or may enter an intermediate host which include frogs, birds, snakes, rats and mice and become a plerocercoid larva. When cats, dogs, foxes or wolves eat the intermediate host the worm completes its life cycle becoming an egg producing adult. Because humans would normally ingest the worm at the procercoid stage the human is a dead-end host.

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