Dipylidium caninum is a cyclophyllid cestode. Commonly known as the cucumber tapeworm or double-pore tapeworm, this cestode commonly infects organisms carrying lice. This can include dogs, cats, and even humans, especially children. In humans, symptoms can include diarrhea and restlessness. Infection is spread through fleas, acting as a vector for eggs. Humans become infected by accidentally ingesting a flea with tapeworm larvae. Dipylidium is tapeworm of cats and dogs. People become infected when they accidentally swallow a flea infected with tapeworm larvae, most reported cases involve children. Dipylidium infection is easily treated in humans and animals. The reported prevalence of tapeworms in published studies varies from 4.0% to 60.0% in dogs and 1.8% to 52.7% in cats. A number of factors influence the likelihood that a dog or cat will be infected with tapeworms, including the geographic region and the opportunity the animal may have to ingest an infected intermediate host. Prevalence data generated by fecal flotation alone almost certainly underestimate the frequency of infection with cyclophyllidean cestodes because proglottids (and thus eggs) are focally distributed in fecal material and because eggs are heavy and thus do not readily float; a given fecal sample may be negative for tapeworm proglottids or eggs, even in the presence of an infection. Dipylidium caninum and Taenia spp. are found throughout North America. Currently, Echinococcus spp. are thought to be largely limited to areas of the northcentral, midwestern, and southwestern United States as well as areas of Canada and Alaska.
The statistics of this parasitic infections in 460 pre-school children who were part of a larger case-control study of severe malaria in Kilifi on the Kenyan coast. Almost one-third (28.7%) were infected with hookworm, 20.2% with Ascaris lumbricoides and 15.0% with Trichuris trichiura. Infection prevalence of each species rose with age, and the prevalence of heavy infection with hookworm and mean intensity of hookworm were markedly age-dependent. One-third (34.3%) of children had malaria. Overall, 76.3% of children were anaemic (haemoglobin < 110 g/L), with the prevalence decreasing with age. Anaemia was significantly worst in children with heavy hookworm infection (> 200 eggs per gram). This relationship held for all ages, both sexes, and was independent of socioeconomic factors. The application of attributable morbidity methods confirmed the contribution of hookworm infection to anaemia.
Anthelminthic medications (drugs that rid the body of parasitic worms), such as albendazole and mebendazole, are the drugs of choice for treatment of hookworm infections. Infections are generally treated for 1-3 days. The recommended medications are effective and appear to have few side effects. Iron supplements may also be prescribed if the infected person has anemia. Thiabendazole applied topically to attack migrating larvae in cutaneous larva migrans. Pyrantel pamoate in several 11 mg/kg doses, usually over 3 days. Early treatment relied on the use of Epsom salt to reduce protective mucus, followed by thymol to kill the worms. Later tetrachloroethylene was the leading method. It was not until later in the mid-20th century when new organic drug compounds were developed.