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Tapeworm

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This image shows a close-up image of the scolex, which is the anterior, head-like segment of the tapeworm strangely lacking eyes, ears, a nose and a mouth. Many of the specialized structures like hooks, muscular flaps, and suckers that enable this worm to remain securely anchored to its host can be clearly seen. Six types of tapeworm commonly affect humans, transmitted through contaminated undercooked meat and fish, contaminated water and faeces. Infections may be asymptomatic, with the only evidence being eggs presenting in the faeces. Symptoms may include nausea, diarrhea, weight loss and fatigue. The larvae of the pork tapeworm can also cause cysticercosis, the formation of larvae-containing sacs in tissues including the eye, liver and brain. This both impairs the function of the affected organ, and poses the risk of bacterial infection and anaphalyxis. Tapeworm infections are treated with anti-helmintic medication, although this is only effective at killing the adult worms, and not the eggs, and re-infection during treatment is therefore possible. The approximate height of the image is 700 micrometers.

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