BACKGROUND: The multi-host taeniosis/cysticercosis disease system is associated with significant neurological morbidity, as well as economic burden, globally. We investigated whether lower cost behavioral interventions are sufficient for local elimination of human cysticercosis in Boulkiemdé, Sanguié, and Nayala provinces of Burkina Faso.
METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Province-specific data on human behaviors (i.e., latrine use and pork consumption) and serological prevalence of human and pig disease were used to inform a deterministic, compartmental model of the taeniosis/cysticercosis disease system. Parameters estimated via Bayesian melding provided posterior distributions for comparing transmission rates associated with human ingestion of Taenia solium cysticerci due to undercooking and human exposure to T. solium eggs in the environment. Reductions in transmission via these pathways were modeled to determine required effectiveness of a market-focused cooking behavior intervention and a community-led sanitation and hygiene program, independently and in combination, for eliminating human cysticercosis as a public health problem (<1 case per 1000 population). Transmission of cysticerci due to consumption of undercooked pork was found to vary significantly across transmission settings. In Sanguié, the rate of transmission due to undercooking was 6% higher than that in Boulkiemdé (95% CI: 1.03, 1.09; p-value < 0.001) and 35% lower than that in Nayala (95% CI: 0.64, 0.66; p-value < 0.001). We found that 67% and 62% reductions in undercooking of pork consumed in markets were associated with elimination of cysticercosis in Nayala and Sanguié, respectively. Elimination of active cysticercosis in Boulkiemdé required a 73% reduction. Less aggressive reductions of 25% to 30% in human exposure to Taenia solium eggs through sanitation and hygiene programs were associated with elimination in the provinces.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Despite heterogeneity in effectiveness due to local transmission dynamics and behaviors, education on the importance of proper cooking, in combination with community-led sanitation and hygiene efforts, has implications for reducing morbidity due to cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis.