Taenia solium cysticercosis in the Democratic Republic of Congo: how does pork trade affect the transmission of the parasite?

N Praet, K Kanobana, C Kabwe, V Maketa, P Lukanu, P Lutumba, K Polman, P Matondo, N Speybroeck, P Dorny, J Sumbu

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


    BACKGROUND: Taenia solium, a zoonotic parasite that is endemic in most developing countries where pork is consumed, is recognised as the main cause of acquired epilepsy in these regions. T. solium has been reported in almost all of the neighboring countries of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) but data on the current prevalence of the disease in the country itself are lacking. This study, focusing on porcine cysticercosis (CC), makes part of a first initiative to assess whether cysticercosis is indeed actually present in DRC. METHODS: An epidemiological study on porcine CC was conducted (1) on urban markets of Kinshasa where pork is sold and (2) in villages in Bas-Congo province where pigs are traditionally reared. Tongue inspection and ELISA for the detection of circulating antigen of the larval stage of T. solium were used to assess the prevalence of active CC in both study sites. FINDINGS: The overall prevalence of pigs with active cysticercosis did not significantly differ between the market and the village study sites (38.8 [CI 95%: 34-43] versus 41.2% [CI 95%: 33-49], respectively). However, tongue cysticercosis was only found in the village study site together with a significantly higher intensity of infection (detected by ELISA). INTERPRETATION: Pigs reared at village level are sold for consumption on Kinshasa markets, but it seems that highly infected animals are excluded at a certain level in the pig trade chain. Indeed, preliminary informal surveys on common practices conducted in parallel revealed that pig farmers and/or buyers select the low infected animals and exclude those who are positive by tongue inspection at village level. This study provides the only recent evidence of CC presence in DRC and gives the first estimates to fill an important gap on the African taeniasis/cysticercosis distribution map
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
    Issue number9
    Pages (from-to)e817
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Helminthic diseases
    • Cysticercosis
    • Pigs
    • Zoonoses
    • Taenia solium
    • Epilepsy
    • Epidemiology
    • Transmission
    • Food consumption
    • ELISA
    • Detection
    • Tongue examination
    • Congo-Kinshasa
    • Africa-Central


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