Cysticercosis and taeniasis cases diagnosed at two referral medical institutions, Belgium, 1990 to 2015

Veronique Dermauw, Steven Van Den Broucke, Lieselotte Van Bockstal, Leon Luyten, Kim Luyckx, Emmanuel Bottieau, Pierre Dorny

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

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Background: Few case reports on human infections with the beef tapeworm Taenia saginata and the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium, diagnosed in Belgium have been published, yet the grey literature suggests a higher number of cases. 

Aim: To identify and describe cases of taeniasis and cysticercosis diagnosed at two Belgian referral medical institutions from 1990 to 2015. 

Methods: In this observational study we retrospectively gathered data on taeniasis and cysticercosis cases by screening laboratory, medical record databases as well a uniform hospital discharge dataset. 

Results: A total of 221 confirmed taeniasis cases were identified. All cases for whom the causative species could be determined (170/221, 76.9%) were found to be T. saginata infections. Of those with available information, 40.0% were asymptomatic (26/65), 15.4% reported diarrhoea (10/65), 9.2% reported anal discomfort (6/65) and 15.7% acquired the infection in Belgium (11/70). Five definitive and six probable cases of neurocysticercosis (NCC), and two cases of non-central nervous system cysticercosis (non-CNS CC) were identified. Common symptoms and signs in five of the definitive and probable NCC cases were epilepsy, headaches and/or other neurological disorders. Travel information was available for of the 13 NCC and non-CNS CC cases; two were Belgians travelling to and eight were immigrants or visitors travelling from endemic areas. 

Conclusions: The current study indicates that a non-negligible number of taeniasis cases visit Belgian medical facilities, and that cysticercosis is occasionally diagnosed in international travellers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800589
Issue number35
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019




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