Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose a tapeworm infection, your doctor may rely on one of the following:

  • Stool sample analysis. For an intestinal tapeworm infection, your doctor may check your stool or send samples to a laboratory for testing. A laboratory uses microscopic identification techniques to check for eggs or tapeworm segments in your feces. Because the eggs and segments are passed irregularly, the lab may need to collect two to three samples over a period of time to detect the parasite. Eggs are sometimes present at the anus, so your doctor may use a piece of transparent adhesive tape pressed to the anus to collect eggs for microscopic identification.
  • Blood test. For tissue-invasive infections, your doctor may also test your blood for antibodies your body may have produced to fight tapeworm infection. The presence of these antibodies indicates tapeworm infestation.
  • Imaging exam. Certain types of imaging, such as CT or MRI scans, X-rays or ultrasounds of cysts, may suggest invasive tapeworm infection.
Dec. 20, 2011

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