How to Test for Tape Worms in Humans

Written by jennifer s. wright
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In humans, the most common types of tapeworm infections, according to the Mayo Clinic, are caused by the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium), beef tapeworm (Taenia saginata), dwarf tapeworm (Hymenolepis nana) and the fish tapeworm (Diphyllobothrium latum). According to the Mayo Clinic, these parasites can live in a person for up to 20 years and can grow up to 50 feet long. A health care professional will test a person for a tapeworm infection by examining the person's stool and performing a tape test.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Two pairs of gloves
  • Collection hat
  • Cling film
  • Specimen container
  • Transparent tape
  • Glass slide
  • Microscope

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Instructions

    Stool Examination

  1. 1

    Wash hands with soap and water. Don a pair of gloves.

  2. 2

    Prepare the toilet by placing a collection hat in the toilet or placing cling film loosely over the toilet bowel.

  3. 3

    Instruct the person to pass stool when he has the urge, but be careful not to contaminate the sample with urine. Consult with the person's physician or laboratory if the stool is contaminated with urine because the person may need to collect a new stool sample.

  4. 4

    Place the stool sample in the clean specimen container.

  5. 5

    Remove and discard gloves. Wash hands with soap and water.

  6. 6

    Take the stool sample to the physician's office or laboratory. The stool is examined for the presence of eggs or tapeworm segments. The laboratory can determine the type of parasite in the stool sample which will help the physician develop the proper treatment plan.

  7. 7

    Repeat the stool test two to three times over a two to three day period as directed by the physician or laboratory.

    Tape Test

  1. 1

    Perform this test in the morning before the person has a bowel movement, changes clothes or bathes. Provide privacy for the person.

  2. 2

    Wash hands with soap and water. Don a pair of gloves.

  3. 3

    Instruct the person to remove his trousers and underwear and then lie in a comfortable position on his side with his knees bent toward his chest or to bend his body over the examination table.

  4. 4

    Press the sticky side of a 1 inch long piece of transparent tape over the anus for two to three seconds and then carefully remove.

  5. 5

    Press the tape gently on a glass side with the sticky side down.

  6. 6

    Examine the tape for the presence of eggs or tapeworm segments under a microscope.

  7. 7

    Repeat the test on three separate days or as ordered by the physician.

Tips and warnings

  • A tapeworm infection is caused by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with the tapeworm eggs or larvae.

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