Cysticercosis


Under low magnification of 8X, photomicrograph
shows ultrastructural morphology in
3 Taenia solium proglottids 
This section provides information on one of the nine zoonotic diseases which have been identified by a experts in a national consultation organised by RCZI in June, 2008  as focus or priority diseases for the next five years.

Cysticercosis is a common parasitic infestation of the central nervous system. It occurs in humans when they ingest eggs or larvae of the tapeworm Taenia solium. The eggs and larvae are usually found in fecally-contaminated water or food and in undercooked pork. When eggs of either tapeworm are ingested, they develop inside the intestine and eventually invade the entire body, causing fever, muscle pain, eosinophilia, and malaise. Long-term effectsinclude calcification of infestedareas, brain seizures and personality changes. Autoinfection as a result of the entry of eggs into the stomach due to retroperistalsis or as a result of accidental ingestion of eggs from the host's own feces due to contaminated hands is also possible.

The tapeworm that causes cysticercosis is found worldwide. Infection is usually found in rural, developing countries where there is poor hygieneandpigs roam freely and eat human feces. This allows tapeworm infection to be completed and thecycle tocontinue. Taeniasis and cysticercosis are rare in Muslim countries where eating pork is forbidden. The cause ofhuman cysticercosis is the larval formof Taenia solium (pork tapeworm). T. solium is a platyhelminth of the cestoidean class, cyclophyllidea order and taeniidae family. The common larval stage of T. solium was also known as Cysticercus cellulosae. Distribution of T. solium cysicercus is worldwide

The prevalence of infection in pigs varies with the parasite. In some parts of the world, up to 43% of the pigs have antibodies to T. solium. Free-roaming pigs have a much greater risk of infection than pigs that are confined to pens. Cysticercosis in livestock can be decreased by preventing or treating taeniasis in the definitive host i.e. humans.

Public Health Measures

Animal Health

Recent Publications and Reviews

Confirmed and Suspected Outbreaks of Cysticercosis

General Information