Can Humans Get Tapeworms from Cats?

Tapeworms are nematodes which have hooks or claws with which they are able anchor themselves within the digestive tract of their hosts. The species which infest picks are known to infest humans as well. If humans eat undercooked tapeworm infected pork, they are able to become infected with tapeworm. This phenomenon has been well researched and documented. It is also known to be a major health risk to man and may even become logged in the brain. Cats may also become infested with tapeworm, so the question: can humans get tapeworms from cats? is not a strange one.

The tapeworm which is able to infect cats belongs to the Dipylidium Caninum family. As with all tapeworms, as they mature, segments break off from their body which has the ability to mature into an entire new mature tapeworm on its own. These tapeworms are also known as flea tapeworms because fleas are a vital intermediate host in their transmission cycle. Without fleas, their transmission cycle will be broken and no further infestation would be possible. Hence, where there is a feline tapeworm infestation it is often accompanied foods that make you poop by an increased infestation of fleas as well.

Although uncommon, there have been isolated cases where people have gotten infested with Dipylidium Caninum.The majority of these have been in children. Children often have cats as pets and are found in or near the cat's quarters. The only way that this could have happened is by accidental ingestion of the eggs. This can occur be ingestion of a flea invested with a tapeworm egg. Another possibility is that they come into contact with infested body fluids from the cat. As we all know children are more likely than not to place their hand in the mouths. If their hands have not been washed, the infestation could be moved from the infested body fluid to their mouths, and so they also become invested. The same may happen with adults as well.

So if you ensure that your cats living area is kept clean and flea free, you will decrease the possibility of your cat being infested. This can easily be achieved by having a regular flea control program in place. In the case of humans, ensure that everybody who come into contact with the cats always wash their hands and maintain good personal hygiene.

Question: Can people get tapeworms from cats?

Answer: Yes, but it extremely rare and the possibility can be minimized further by practicing basic principles of good personal hygiene.