Answer to Case
This was a case of taeniasis caused by Taenia
saginata, the beef tapeworm. Diagnostic features included:
- a gravid proglottid longer than wide.
- the number of primary uterine braches exceeding 13.
This was the first proglottid that the submitter had
ever received for identification. The DPDx Team extended
congratulations on a job well done. Here are the steps and tips that
were provided to the submitter:
- Remember to use gloves when handling unknown
tapeworm proglottids, due to the risk of infection with the eggs of
Taenia solium and subsequent risk of cysticercosis.
- The proglottid should be cleared using
lactophenol before attempting to inject India ink. Since the
amount of time necessary to clear the proglottid varies, it should
be observed in intervals. It may even take overnight in some
- The cleared proglottid may be placed between two
large (2 inch x 3 inch) glass slides, near one edge. Applying
a small amount of pressure will help stabilize the proglottid while
injecting the ink.
- Best done while viewing with a dissecting
microscope, a small needle, 27 gauge or smaller, attached to a 1 ml
tuberculin syringe with ink is inserted into the genital pore.
- Slowly and carefully inject the ink into the
genital pore and allow the ink to flow down the uterine stem and
into the primary uterine branches.
- The proglottid can then be relocated more towards
the center of the slides. In order to keep the proglottid
flat, apply adhesive tape to the glass slides.
- If successful, the uterine branches can then be
For more information on taeniasis, please