Human Lice as Intermediate Hosts of Tapeworms

Occasionally humans become infested with the pored tapeworm (Dipylidium caninum). Although carnivores are the normal definitive hosts for this parasite, humans can be infested if they accidentally ingest dog biting lice (T. canis), which serve as intermediate hosts. Although this would appear to be an unlikely event, infants, especially babies playing on carpets or other areas frequented by a family dog, may touch an infested louse with sticky fingers which may then be put into their mouth, thus initiating an infestation.

the host. However, large numbers of lice can be debilitating by causing anemia, dermatitis, allergic responses, hair or feather loss, and other disorders. Lice also induce intensive host grooming, which can lead to the formation of hair balls in the stomach, especially in cats and calves.

A few pathogens are known to be transmitted to domestic animals by lice (Table III). The most important of these are the viral agent of swinepox and the bacterial agents of murine haemobartonellosisznA murine eperythrozoonosis, all of which are widely distributed. In addition to those listed in Table III, several pathogens have been detected in various species of lice, but there is no current evidence that lice are vectors of these organisms.

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