Differentiating Taenia eggs found in human stools: Does Ziehl-Neelsen staining help?

Juan A. Jimenez, Silvia Rodriguez, Luz M. Moyano, Yesenia Castillo, Héctor H. García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective To determine whether Ziehl-Neelsen staining can differentiate Taenia solium from Taenia saginata eggs. Methods Tapeworm proglottids (33 specimens, 23 T. solium and 10 T. saginata) and eggs (31 specimens, 13 T. solium and 18 T. saginata) were stained. Four eggs from each sample were measured and average diameters were recorded. Results Taenia saginata eggs stained entirely magenta in seven of 13 cases. Taenia solium eggs stained entirely blue/purple in 4/18 cases and entirely magenta in one. Eggs of T. saginata were slightly larger and always ovoid, while T. solium eggs were smaller and mostly spheric. Conclusions Ziehl-Neelsen staining can occasionally distinguish fully mature T. solium from T. saginata eggs, but this distinction is neither very sensitive nor completely specific. Differential staining suggests differences in embryophore components between species which become evident with egg maturation. In this small series, egg morphology (shape, maximal diameter) provided appropriate differentiation between T. solium and T. saginata eggs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1081
Number of pages5
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Perú
  • Taenia
  • Taenia saginata
  • Taenia solium
  • Ziehl-Neelsen
  • cestodes


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