LOWA,US: Public health doctors in Iowa issued a warning after a woman bought a tapeworm online and swallowed it in a bid to lose weight.

The woman’s family doctor was so stumped by the case that he had to call the state health department for guidance.

The agency told the doctor to have his patient de-wormed by way of some special medication that kills the parasite, reports the Des Moines Register.

Dr Patricia Quinlisk, medical director at the Iowa Department of Public Health, recounted the incident in an e-mail to public-health workers.

“Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths,” she wrote.“Those desiring to lose weight are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods; consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity.”–ON