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.
Dipylidium caninum is a cestode that requires from the participation of an arthropod in its life cycle. This parasitosis occurs in dogs and cats, and occasionally in human beings. Human cases of D caninum infection have been reported in Europe, Philippines, China, Japan, Latin America and the United States; mostly children, one third of them being infants under 6 months old. The diagnosis of this disease is done by the parasitological study of the feces, observing the characteristics of the gravid proglottids.
The treatment is performed by administering broad-spectrum anthelmintics. Praziquantel, is used as a single-dose therapy. Praziquantel is not approved for treatment of children less than 4 years old but this drug has been used successfully to treat cases of D. caninum infection in children as young as 6 months. Niclosamide is effective but is unvailable in the United States. The infection is self-limiting in the human host and typically spontaneously clears by 6 weeks.