Etiology: Rodentolepis nana is the dwarf tapeworm and Hymenolepis diminuta is the rat tapeworm. Both tapeworms are capable of infecting hamsters.
Indirect cycle: Transmission occurs by ingestion of infected tissues of intermediate hosts (fleas, flour beetles, cockroaches). The prepatent period is 18 – 20 days.
Direct cycle (Rodentolepis only): Transmission occurs by ingestion of infective eggs. The prepatent period is 10 – 20 days.
Public Health Significance: R. nana and H. diminuta are documented zoonotic parasites.
Please see hamster Parasitic Diseases for more details.