Bold pork tapeworm head. Light micrograph of the scolex (head) of the adult pork tapeworm, (Taenia solium). At top is a rosette of hooks under which are the four rounded suckers. The hooks and suckers are the means by which the tapeworm attaches itself to the intestinal walls of its host. Humans are the main host of this parasite, which infects some 4 million people worldwide. Tapeworms have no digestive systems of their own but absorb directly through their skin the food ingested and broken down by the host. Adult tapeworms may grow 5-10 metres in length. They may cause diarrhoea, weight loss and abdominal discomfort. Treatment is with antihelmintic drugs.
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