Human infection rates are generally highest in areas that practice poor sanitation methods for sheep raising, particularly in common areas with dogs. Dogs in these areas may become infected by eating the entrails of infected butchered sheep or other herded animals. Males and females are equally affected. Most human infection is asymptomatic. Death may occur from hydatid rupture, which can cause anaphylactic shock and/or lead to bacterial infection. The mass effect of slow-growing hydatid cysts into the tissue space of vital organs can also be fatal.
Many people with intestinal tapeworm infection have no symptoms. Signs and symptoms of intestinal infection include: Nausea, Weakness, Loss of appetite, Abdominal pain, Diarrhea, Weight loss and inadequate absorption of nutrients from food. The most common treatment for tapeworm infection involves oral medications that are toxic to the adult tapeworm, including: Praziquantel (Biltricide), Albendazole (Albenza), Nitazoxanide (Alinia).
Echinococcosis is the general term used to describe four disease forms caused by the larval stage of Echinococcus tapeworms, the smallest tapeworms in the Taeniidae family. Tapeworm infection is caused by ingesting food or water contaminated with tapeworm eggs or larvae. A tapeworm infection starts after ingestion of tapeworm eggs or larvae. Ingestion of eggs, Ingestion of larvae cysts in meat or muscle tissue are known to be the most common causes.