Knowledge, practices and seroprevalence of Taenia species in smallholder farms in Gauteng, South Africa

Nothando Altrecia Shongwe, Charles Byaruhanga, Pierre Dorny, Veronique Dermauw, Daniel Nenene Qekwana

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    Porcine cysticercosis and associated human infections are endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Poor agricultural practices, sanitary practices, and lack of knowledge increase the burden of the diseases in susceptible populations. This study investigates the seroprevalence of Taenia spp. in township pigs in Gauteng, South Africa and describes knowledge and farming practices of pig farmers regarding T. solium infections. Blood samples were collected from 126 pigs in three Gauteng township areas, and analyzed for active Taenia spp. infection using the B158/B60 Ag-ELISA. Farmer questionnaire surveys were conducted in four township areas to investigate the level of knowledge and practices associated with porcine cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis. Logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between predictor variables and the outcome variable, knowledge of porcine cysticercosis or knowledge of neurocysticercosis. Overall, 7% of the pigs were seropositive for active Taenia spp. infection. 46% of farmers practiced a free-ranging system, while 25% practiced a semi-intensive system. Latrines were absent on all farms; however, 95% of farmers indicated that they have access to latrines at home. Most farmers had no knowledge of porcine cysticercosis (55%) or neurocysticercosis (79%), and this was not associated with any of the factors investigated. The prevalence of active Taenia spp. infection was reasonably low in this study, yet the knowledge level was also low, thus calling for further educational and training programmes to prevent Taenia spp. transmission in these communities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0244055
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number12
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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