Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology

: 2008  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 149--150

Hymenolepis diminuta in a child from rural area

Smita Watwe, Charan Kaur Dardi 
 Department of Microbiology, Maharashtra Institute of Medical Education and Research Medical College, Talegaon Dabhade, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Smita Watwe
Flat No 302, Vimalkunj Apartments, Maitreya Baug, Kothrud, Pune - 411038, Maharashtra


We report a rare case of Hymenolepis diminuta infection in a 12-year-old girl from a rural area of Devghar.

How to cite this article:
Watwe S, Dardi CK. Hymenolepis diminuta in a child from rural area.Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2008;51:149-150

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Watwe S, Dardi CK. Hymenolepis diminuta in a child from rural area. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2008 [cited 2021 May 7 ];51:149-150
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Full Text


H. diminuta infection in human beings is rather uncommon. Different surveys have reported parasitization rates ranging between 0.001% and 5.5%. [1],[2],[3]

H. diminuta , a rat tapeworm, is primarily a rodent parasite for which arthropods act as an intermediate host. Flea, beetles, cockroaches are the common intermediate hosts; and rats, mice are the definitive hosts. Humans, usually children, are accidental hosts and acquire infection by ingesting the infected intermediate host. Adult worms are found in the small intestine, and the eggs are passed in the stool. Presence of eggs in the stool specimen indicates infection.

 Case History

A study was carried out to find the prevalence of intestinal parasites in children from a small village. In one of the samples, we found spherical, thick-shelled, yellow-colored eggs, 70 µm in diameter, having six central hooklets but no polar filaments [Figure 1]. They were identified as H. diminuta eggs. This specimen was from a 12-year-old girl living in a place heavily infested with rodents and cockroaches.

The patient was not acutely ill, but she had complaints of intermittent abdominal pain, irritability and pruritis. On physical examination, no positive clinical finding was noted. Her weight was 31 kg and height was 130 cm. On blood examination, no abnormality was detected.


H. diminuta , a rat tapeworm, is prevalent worldwide, but only a few hundred human cases have been reported. [1],[2],[3] In developed countries, H. diminuta infection is very rare. Very few such cases have been reported from Australia, United States, Spain, and Italy. [4],[5] Isolated cases are reported from other parts of the world, like Malaysia, Thailand, Jamaica, Indonesia. [6],[7],[8],[9]

In India a survey of 10,000 stool samples was carried out by Chandler. [10] Twenty-three cases of H. diminuta were found. A few other isolated cases of H. diminuta have been reported. [11],[12] Our finding is similar to these studies.

H. diminuta infection is often asymptomatic, but abdominal pain, irritability and pruritus have been associated with this infection. [4] Our patient also had similar complaints. H. diminuta infection may also cause eosinophilia, but in our case it was not evident. Similar findings have been reported by Tena et al. [4] and Marangi M. [5]

Considering the large number of rats, cockroaches and beetles present near human habitation, a survey should be carried out on a larger scale for detecting more H. diminuta infections.


We are grateful to Dr. S. G. Ghaisas (Medical Director) and Dr. A. T. Kulkarni (Principal), MIMER Medical College, Talegaon Dabhade, Dist. Pune, for their support and encouragement.


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