Hymenolepis nana


  • Dwarf tapeworm - named so because it is smaller than most cestodes
  • Most common human tapeworm infection worldwide
  • Transmission through poor sanitation and hygiene
  • Completes its entire life cycle in a single host

Clinical Features

  • Most common in children
  • Majority of infections are asymptomatic
  • As parasite burden increases symptoms become more likely
  • Presents with crampy abdominal pain, diarrhea, anorexia, and anal pruritus
  • May also exhibit dizziness, irritability, sleep disturbance, and seizures

Differential Diagnosis

Helminth infections

Cestodes (Tapeworms)

Trematodes (Flukes)

Nematodes (Roundworms)


  • History of above symptoms +/- local exposure
  • Peripheral blood eosinophilia of 5 to 10% may be observed
  • Definitive diagnosis by identifying eggs or proglottids in the stool
  • Diagnosis of hymenolepiasis should prompt family screening or empiric treatment


Praziquantel: 25mg/kg orally (single dose), followed by repeat dose 10 days later


  • Discharge with follow up and plan to either screen or treat family and close contacts

See Also

External Links