Taenia solium infections in a rural area of eastern Zambia; a community based study

K.E. Mwape, I.K. Phiri, N. Praet, J.B. Muma, G. Zulu, P. Van den Bossche, Reginald De Deken, N. Speybroeck, P. Dorny, S. Gabriël

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    BACKGROUND: Taenia solium taeniosis/cysticercosis is a parasitic infection occurring in many developing countries. Data on the status of human infections in Zambia is largely lacking. We conducted a community-based study in Eastern Zambia to determine the prevalence of human taeniosis and cysticercosis in a rural community. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Stool and serum samples were collected from willing participants. Geographical references of the participants' households were determined and household questionnaires administered. Taeniosis was diagnosed in stool samples by coprology and by the polyclonal antibody-based copro-antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (copro-Ag ELISA), while cysticercosis was diagnosed in serum by the B158/B60 monoclonal antibody-based antigen ELISA (sero-Ag ELISA). Identification of the collected tapeworm after niclosamide treatment and purgation was done using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). A total of 255 households from 20 villages participated in the study, 718 stool and 708 serum samples were collected and examined. Forty-five faecal samples (6.3%) were found positive for taeniosis on copro-Ag ELISA while circulating cysticercus antigen was detected in 5.8% (41/708) individuals. The tapeworm recovered from one of the cases was confirmed to be T. solium on PCR-RFLP. Seropositivity (cysticercosis) was significantly positively related to age (p = 0.00) and to copro-Ag positivity (taeniosis) (p = 0.03) but not to gender. Change point analysis revealed that the frequency of cysticercus antigens increased significantly in individuals above the age of 30. Copro-Ag positivity was not related to age or gender. The following risk factors were noted to be present in the study community: free-range pig husbandry system and poor sanitation with 47.8% of the households visited lacking latrines. CONCLUSIONS: This study has recorded high taeniosis and cysticercosis prevalences and identified the need for further studies on transmission dynamics and impact of the disease on the local people.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)e1594
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Animal diseases
    • Helminthic diseases
    • Cysticercosis
    • Taeniasis
    • Taenia solium
    • Prevalence
    • Diagnosis
    • ELISA
    • PCR-RFLP
    • Geographical distribution
    • Treatment
    • Niclosamide
    • Risk factors
    • Age distribution
    • Animal husbandry
    • Pig farms
    • Sanitation
    • Zambia
    • Africa-Southern


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