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Prevalence of Porcine Cysticercosis and Associated Risk Factors in Homa Bay District of Kenya

08 January 2013

Taenia solium is a parasite of serious public health importance in the Homa Bay area, according to new research from Kenya. The scientists add that improving latrine provision would go a long way towards controlling this parasite and to encourage the development of a viable and prosperous pig industry.

Taenia solium is an important zoonosis in many developing countries, write Eric E. Eshitera of the University of Kenya and co-authors there and at Kenya's International Livestock Research Institute and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in a paper published in BMC Veterinary Research.

Cysticercosis poses a serious public health risk and leads to economic losses to the pig production industry. Due to scarcity of data on the epidemiology of porcine cysticercosis in Kenya, the authors conducted the present study to determine the prevalence and risk factors for porcine cysticercosis within Homa Bay district.

A cross-sectional survey was carried out in 2010, and a total of 392 pigs were recruited in a household survey, with all being tested by ante-mortem lingual palpation (together with questionnaire data on pig production, occurrence and transmission of porcine cysticercosis, risk factors and awareness of porcine cysticercosis collected from the households from which pigs were sampled).

Sufficient serum was collected from 232 of the pigs to be tested for the presence of circulating parasite antigen using a monoclonal antibody-based sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Ag-ELISA).

Seventy-six pigs were found positive by the Ag-ELISA (32.8 per cent; 95 per cent C.I.: 26.8 to 39.2 per cent), while by tongue inspection, cysticerci were detected in 22 out of 392 pigs (5.6 per cent; 95 per cent C.I.: 3.6 to 8.4 per cent).

The most important risk factor for porcine cysticercosis in the Homa Bay area was for pigs to belong to a farm where there was no latrine for use by members of the household (OR=1.9; 95 per cent CI: 1.13 to 2.37).

Eshitera and co-authors say the present findings indicate that porcine cysticercosis is endemic in Homa Bay District, and that latrine provision, in conjunction with free-range pig keeping contributes significantly to porcine cysticercosis transmission.


Eshitera E.E., S.M. Githigia, P. Kitala, L.F. Thomas, E.M. Fèvre, L.J.S. Harrison, E.W. Mwihia, R.O. Otieno, F. Ojiambo and N. Maingi. 2012. Prevalence of porcine cysticercosis and associated risk factors in Homa Bay District, Kenya. BMC Veterinary Research, 8:234. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-234.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

Find out more information about Taenia solium and related diseases by clicking here.

January 2013

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