8.5.2009 – 27.9.2009

Fox and dog tapeworms

An mysterious find in the chest of a human skeleton surprised the anthropologists of the Natural History Museum Basel. In the chest area of a man who died 700 years ago in Basel, they found fragments of an egg-shaped object four centimetres in size.

The team of researchers wondered whether it was a swallowed object, an egg, or a pathological change? Studies have shown that it was a calcified tapeworm cyst, which has rarely been found to date.

Only a few cases of such cysts from times long past are known worldwide. A parasite, the dog tapeworm, was suspected of being the  culprit.

The small exhibition informed about the unusual fate of the victim from medieval Basel and showed what measures can be taken against the fox and dog tapeworm.

Partner: Health Services Canton Basel-Stadt, Institute for Parasitology Bern