An 8-foot-long tapeworm has been removed from a Chinese woman, identified as Mrs. Li, after eating undercooked beef while traveling in Southeast Asia. It's “disgusting and almost makes me faint,” Mrs. Li described of her experience with the tapeworm. She was diagnosed with having taeniasis after visiting a doctor in Xiamen, a Fujian province in China, according to the NY Daily News.
Taeniasis is a parasitic infection caused by a tapeworm after consuming either beef or pork. Humans are likely to become infected with these types of tapeworms after eating undercooked or raw meat.
When a human eats a piece of uncooked meat with eggs of a tapeworm still alive, the eggs can grow and hatch inside of someone. According to the Mayo Clinic, many people who have a tapeworm are unaware of their symptoms. However, if left untreated they can cause severe organ and tissue damage. Some symptoms include, nausea, weakness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are approximately less than 1,000 cases diagnosed each year. But due to the lack of reporting, the exact number is not known.
To diagnose a tapeworm, there are three different options: stool sample analysis, blood test, or imaging exam. And the most comment types of treatments include oral medications such as praziquantel (Biltricide), albendazole (Albenza), nitazoxanide (Alinia).
Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Mosley, British journalist known for self-experimenting, infected himself with a tapeworm to see the effect it would have on his body. He swallowed a camera to view the results. To see his experience, take a look at the video below: