Taenia saginata is a cestode or tapeworm. The definitive host is humans and approximately 20 to 25 out of every 100,000 people are infected with Taenia saginata. The larval stage infects cattle and reindeer. The 2nd larval stage, the cysticercus, is what is ingested by humans. This larval stage is known to be antigenically noisy (alerts the attention of the immune system). The cysticercus eats the antibodies that it attracts with its noisy antigens.
Humans ingest the cysticercus (2nd larval stage) of Taenia saginata when they eat undercooked meat from cattle. The scolex (grasping organ) attaches to the intestine of the human. The adult lives and grows in the small intestine. Mature proglottids (segments of the adult worm) with eggs inside of them break off and are introduced into the external environment via human feces. The eggs or entire proglottid is ingested by cattle. The oncosphere develops (1st larval stage) and penetrates the intestinal wall of the cattle. From there, it goes into circulation. The cysticercus (2nd larval stage) develops in the muscle of the cattle and it is ready to be consumed by another human.
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