Hymenolepid Tapeworms

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.