Taenia Solium Elimination Versus Control: What is the Best Way Forward for Sub-Saharan Africa?

October 2016 to September 2021
Taenia Solium Infection
Research fields
Medicine and Health Sciences

Taenia solium taeniosis/cysticercosis is a neglected zoonotic parasitic disease complex with significant economic and public health impacts, occurring primarily in developing countries. Humans are the carriers of the tapeworm (taeniosis); the normal intermediate pig host develops the metacestode larval stage (porcine cysticercosis). However, people can also act as accidental intermediate hosts and develop human cysticercosis or neurocysticercosis (NCC) when the central nervous system is involved.
The scattered efforts of researchers into evaluation of control programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have focussed on single control options. It is becoming clear that these stand-alone options have the potential to reduce the occurrence of the parasite, however either long term or more integrated efforts seem to be required to reach an elimination status.
The objective of the current study is to evaluate the cost-effectiveness/acceptability of elimination (to be achieved on a short term via integrated measures), and control (single measures, with an elimination goal on a longer term) of T. solium in a highly endemic area in SSA.
This intervention study will entail an elimination study arm in which multiple control options are combined (integrated) aiming at the final human host (Mass drug administration (MDA) and health education) and pig intermediate hosts (pig treatment and vaccination). In a second study arm a single control option will be carried out (pig treatment). In both study arms (health) education will be implemented. At baseline and in the final sampling year, prevalence of human taeniosis/cysticercosis and porcine cysticercosis will be determined in all study villages. Active ongoing surveillance and 6 monthly (biannual) human and pig sampling will be conducted in the elimination study arm, as well as two-yearly (biennial) sampling of the pig intermediate host in the control study arm. Additionally, (open ended) questionnaires and focus group discussions will be administered/held to obtain data on the cost of pig keeping, T. solium, the interventions and the perception/acceptability of the proposed control measures to the local communities.