Huge tapeworm discovered growing inside a three-year-old boy

  • A Pacific broad tapeworm was found inside a three-year-old boy last year
  • The boy, from South Australia, became ill after eating raw marine fish
  • The tapeworm hasn’t before been observed in a human being in Australia

A tapeworm which has never been found in humans in Australia have been discovered growing inside a three-year-old boy.

The boy was taken to a medical clinic by his parents on July 29, 2015 after having a poor appetite and diarrhea for one month. He was said to be infected with a Pacific broad Tapeworm last year after regularly eating raw fish caught by his father according to Murdoch University parasitologists.

Symptoms were said to be mild and were not significant for this patient.

“The pathogenic tapeworm is most commonly found in fish-eating mammals like bears and seals in the northern hemisphere but not in people in Australia, although more cases can be expected.” said, Professor of Parasitology, Andrew Thompson, as disclosed via a Daily Mail story.

Pacific Broad Tapeworm or Diphyllbothrium pacificum, is a species of tapeworm that infects fish and fish-eating mammals like bears, seals and humans. They can grow up to 12 meters long. It can infect humans through the consumption of raw or undercooked fish. People who eat fresh, raw marine fish are most at risk.

Diphyllobothariasis can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and B-12 anemia because the tapeworm consume about 80 percent of person’s B-12 intake. This can be treated by a single dose of an antiparsitic drug called Praziquantel.

This is the first documented case in Australia.