Acute Communicable Disease Control
Cysticercosis (cys·ti·cer·co·sis)
Click for View of Cysticersosis/Taeniasis Life Cycle

Cysticercosis results from an infection with the larval form of the tapeworm Taenia solium. The process begins with ingestion of tapeworm eggs (which have been excreted in human feces by a human tapeworm carrier). Once the eggs are ingested, the tapeworm larvae hatch from the eggs in the human gut and may invade any organ of the human body, such as the eye or the brain.

The most serious manifestation is neurocysticercosis, infection of the central nervous system, including the brain, meninges and spinal column. Symptoms of neurocysticercosis may include headache, seizures, confusion, sensitivity to light, or loss of consciousness. Cysticercosis can also manifest in muscles, causing acute body aches and pain. Ocular (eye) cysticercosis can result in eye pain, difficult eye movement, visual disturbances and blindness.

Human tapeworm infection with T. solium is caused by consuming raw or undercooked pork, infested with viable cysts. Pork products that are raised and processed domestically do not carry T. solium. However it is extremely important to always cook your pork to an internal temperature of 145ºF to ensure any pathogens have been killed.

Additional Resources