Sunday, December 26, 2010

Answer to Case 144

Answer: Taenia spp. eggs. As Malassezia commented: "The hooklets are really lovely. Guessing the white smooth soft object is a proglottid?"

The white object was indeed a proglottid, despite its rather nondescript appearance and fragile nature (worm segments are usually more durable in my experience). This is why we always try to coax eggs out of possible worms that are submitted to the laboratory for identification. The presence of eggs is very useful in cases where the morphologic features of the gross object are indistinct.

In this case, these eggs have classic features of Taenia eggs, including small size (approx 30 microns diameter), thick wall with radial striations, and beautifully defined internal hooklets.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to differentiate the different Taenia spp. by their egg morphology alone, and examination of the scolex or intact proglottid is necessary. Given the fragile nature of this proglottid, further identification was not possible.

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