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 Post subject: Longest tapeworm in Lanka
 Post Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:43 pm 
Longest tapeworm in Lanka

By Gagani Weerakoon
DM / 08JUL2005

In what was described as the longest tapeworm found in the country’s medical history, a 15 feet long tapeworm was found from a 30-year-old foreigner living in Sri Lanka.

MRI’s Parasitological Department Chief Dr. Sagarika Samarasinghe yesterday said a tapeworm case had not been reported for the past 15 to 20 years and this tapeworm found on Tuesday was only a segment of the full worm.

She said the 30-year-old patient had been suffering from the disease for nearly six years.

“He had been in Sri Lanka for three years now. Everyone had ignored him though he had claimed he was passing worms. He was then directed to me in a bid to give him some ‘advice’. But I realised that he was suffering from tapeworm disease,” Dr. Samarasinghe said.

She said arrangements were made to import urgent drugs since Sri Lanka did not have the required drugs to treat the disease.

“There are two types of tapeworms, one is beef tapeworm and the other is the pork tapeworm. In medical terms this condition is called ‘Taenia saginata’. Normally it is one tapeworm that can be in one person but we believe this patient has several inside his abdomen,” she said. When asked whether there was a threat of the disease being spread, Dr. Samarasinghe said there was a possibility of the disease spreading in the Kalmunai area where a similar case was reported recently.

She said the lack of proper sanitary facilities could spread the disease which could be cured with one dose of drugs.

“One can get the disease by eating raw meat or partially cooked meat. Public Health Officials (PHI) can identify meat which are not suitable for consumption or those that contain tapeworms,” she said.

She stressed that immediate steps be taken to provide toilets and other sanitary facilities to people living in the Kalmunai area.


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