Medical Definition of tapeworm
: any of the class Cestoda of flatworms that are parasitic as adults in the digestive tract of vertebrates including humans and as larvae in a great variety of vertebrates and invertebrates, that typically consist of an attachment organ usually with suckers, grooves, hooks, or other devices for adhering to the host's intestine followed by an undifferentiated growth region from which buds off a chain of segments of which the anterior members are little more than blocks of tissue, the median members have fully developed organs of both sexes, and the posterior members are degenerated to egg-filled sacs, that have no digestive system and absorb food through the body wall, and that have a nervous system consisting of ganglia and commissures in the scolex and longitudinal cords extending the length of the strobila—called also cestode; see beef tapeworm, cat tapeworm, dog tapeworm, fish tapeworm, fringed tapeworm, pork tapeworm
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