Aggregation of Taenia solium cysticerci in pigs: Implications for transmission and control

ML Kabululu, MV Johansen, M Lightowlers, C Trevisan, UC Braae, HA Ngowi

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Parasite aggregation within hosts is a fundamental feature of parasite distributions, whereby the majority of parasites are harboured by a minority of hosts. Parasite aggregation can influence their transmission and hence control. In this narrative review, possible sources of aggregation of Taenia solium cysticerci in pigs are discussed, along with implications for control of the parasite. While heavy T. solium infections in pigs could most likely be associated with ingestion of high doses of infective parasite eggs, consistent with coprophagic behaviour of pigs, lighter infections indicate a role of indirect routes of transmission to pigs, mostly from lower infection doses. Light infections are likely to be missed by commonly used diagnostic methods - tongue examination or meat inspection - and end up in the food chain. Hence, they entail a ‘hidden’ risk and are of a particular public health concern, especially in areas where meat is consumed raw or undercooked. To be effective and sustainable, control strategies against T. solium likely require a broader understanding of, and consideration for parasite transmission dynamics. More importantly, a holistic One Health approach incorporating interventions on humans, pigs and the environment will likely have a larger, more successful and sustainable impact.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00307
JournalParasite Epidemiology and Control
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Control
  • Cysticercosis
  • Taenia solium
  • Transmission


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