Tapeworms, also known as Cestodes or flatworms can infect humans if they ingest undercooked meat infected with tapeworm larvae. Some people have intense fear of being infected and this is called Taeniophobia.
This fear may have developed because of alien body-invader movies that one has seen in the past and the fear that infestation or infection with this parasite can cause the worm to take over the body. Some may have experienced being infected or had family members infected and have seen severe reactions thus causing this phobia. The fear of tapeworms can be especially severe if one has experienced passing a tapeworm in stools before.
People with this fear are extremely careful about food handling and preparation and some might insist on eating foods that they themselves have prepared. They might avoid eating out and may exhibit symptoms of anxiety such as nausea and vomiting if they accidentally eat meat that they did not cook themselves. Other symptoms include loose stools, palpitations, shortness of breath, and trembling among others.
Treatment includes behavioral therapy and education of the phobic person that there are now available medications that can eradicate this parasite. They should be gradually introduced to meat that is cooked by another person. Anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to those not responding to therapy.