Epidemiology and economic impact of bovine cysticercosis and taeniosis caused by Taenia saginata in northeastern Spain (Catalonia)

Minerva Laranjo-Gonzalez, Brecht Devleesschauwer, Famke Jansen, Pierre Dorny, Celine Dupuy, Ana Requena-Mendez, Alberto Allepuz

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    Background: In Catalonia (north-eastern Spain), Taenia saginata has been described in cattle but its occurrence in humans is unclear. Moreover, whether cattle acquired the infection in Catalonia or outside Catalonia and its economic impact have not been investigated. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence and spatial distribution of bovine cysticercosis in Catalonia (2008-2015), and the burden from T. saginata upon the animal and human sectors in Catalonia (2013-2015).

    Methods: Data on cattle diagnosed with cysticercosis at meat inspection were collected and analysed. Cattle movement history was used to identify the most likely place of bovine cysticercosis infection and to investigate its spatial distribution. Data on taeniosis treatment (niclosamide and praziquantel) costs and their supply in Catalonia as well as data on patients attending primary care with diagnosis of taeniosis were collected. The financial impact associated with T. saginata due to carcasses condemned and frozen, meat inspection and human taeniosis was estimated.

    Results: During 2008-2015, between 18 and 107 cattle were found positive for cysticercosis each year (prevalence at slaughter of 0.010%). Movement history was available for 44% of the infected cattle and in 53% of them Catalonia was identified as the place where the infection was acquired with highest probability. Two significant bovine cysticercosis clusters were detected. The number of patients diagnosed with taeniosis in primary care during the period 2013-2016 was 41-63/year. The overall economic impact of T. saginata (2013-2015) amounted to 154,903 (sic)/year (95% CI: 113,075-196,762). Meat inspection accounted for 81.9% (95% CI: 75.8-862%) of the costs, followed by costs due to carcass condemnation and freezing (9.4%; 95% CI: 6.9-12.8%), and taeniosis-associated costs (8.7%; 95% CI: 6.7-11.6%). Costs due to freezing and condemnation of carcasses reached 19,442 (sic)/year (95% CI: 17,528-21,391) (509 (sic)/lightly infected carcass and 1,140 (sic)/heavily infected carcass). Taeniosis-associated costs were estimated at 12,848.5 (sic)/year (237(sic)/patient).

    Conclusions: The public health risk of T. saginata in the area seems to be low. The economic impact due to T. saginata was mainly attributed to meat inspection. The cost due to carcass condemnation and freezing was limited compared to the revenue of the beef sector. Developing and implementing risk-based surveillance is needed to lower the costs of meat inspection. Considering cattle movements might be useful in the development of such a strategy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number376
    JournalParasites and Vectors
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Taenia saginata
    • Bovine cysticercosis
    • Taeniosis
    • Economic impact
    • CATTLE


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