Endemicity of Taenia solium cysticercosis in pigs from Mbeya Rural and Mbozi districts, Tanzania

Mwemezi L. Kabululu, Helena A. Ngowi, James E. D. Mlangwa, Ernatus M. Mkupasi, Uffe C. Braae, Chiara Trevisan, Angela Colston, Claudia Cordel, Maria V. Johansen

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    Background Taenia soliumtaeniasis/cysticercosis is a disease of substantial economic and public health importance particularly in low-income countries. The disease was reported to be endemic in Mbeya Rural and Mbozi districts, in the southern highlands of Tanzania, the major pig production area in the country. In 2008, using B158/B60 antigen detection enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Ag-ELISA), porcine cysticercosis prevalence of up to 32% was reported in the districts. A number of interventions have been implemented in selected villages including an integrated approach consisting of improving pig confinement and selective treatment of pigs with oxfendazole. Mass drug administration with praziquantel targeting schistosomiasis, with an expected effect onT. solium, was also provided to school-age children in the area. This study aimed at providing an update on prevalence and intensities of porcine cysticercosis; and assessing farmers' knowledge, attitudes and practices which could be associated to disease transmission in the area. The study involved a questionnaire survey conducted using face-to-face household interviews with 890 consenting farmers; and carcass dissections performed on 282 pigs randomly selected from the surveyed households. Results Twenty-six pigs (9.2%) were infected withT. solium; of which two-thirds (65.4%) had light to moderate infection intensities (1-1000 cysticerci), and one-third (34.6%) had heavy intensities (> 1000 cysticerci). Questionnaire results showed that only 5.7% of the respondents perceivedT. soliumcysticercosis to be an important disease in pigs. About 18.5% of the respondents were aware ofT. soliumtaeniasis, but 32% of them were unaware of how the infection is acquired. Half of the respondents had seen cysticerci in pork, of whom 61% were not aware that consumption of infected pork could cause taeniasis. Latrines were observed to often (90%) lack doors with 45% considered accessible to pigs. Conclusions This study provided an evidence that the disease was still endemic in the area. Poor knowledge of farmers, attitudes, and risky practices responsible for disease perpetuation were also revealed. A One Health approach targeting the whole area incorporating improvement of farmer knowledge regarding disease transmission needs to be trialed as a feasible approach to control.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number325
    JournalBMC Veterinary Research
    Issue number1
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Taenia solium
    • Cysticercosis
    • Pigs
    • Mbeya
    • Mbozi
    • Tanzania
    • RISK


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