HISTORY

Image taken from
American Treasures of the Library Congress

In the times between 1634 and 1645, Scultetten and Rentter were the first to refer to the bladder-worm (larval) stage of Taenia Multiceps, with Wepfer, a Swiss physician adding in 1620-85,1675 that 'gid' or vertigo, the unstable gait or giddiness that is characteristic of infected sheep and cattle, was caused by a bladder (coenuri/larva) in their brain. He also described the epidemic of coenurosis that occured in 1658.

Friedrich Kuchenmeister a popular German physician well known for developing scientific meat inspection by veterinarians, performed an experiment in 1853 with Taenia Multiceps proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the cystic worms were necessary steps in the development of taenia. The experiment went as follows: After collecting coenuri (the plural of coenurus, the larval stage of Taenia Multiceps) from sheep, an intermediate host for the tapeworm, Kuchenmeister administered them to a dog, the reservoir, in order to obtain mature proglottids (one of the segments of a tapeworm, containing both male and female reproductive organs of the worm). These proglottids were in turn administered to healthy sheep, and sixteen days later these sheep became infected with the disease. This experiment helped to prove the importance of cystic worms in the development of taenia.

The first recorded human infection with Taenia was in a Paris Locksmith who presented with convulsions and aphasia in 1913. During his autopsy, two coenuri were found in his brain, with one of them containing 75 scolices or suckers, which the parasite uses to attach itself to its host.