The epidemiology of human Taenia solium infections: A systematic review of the distribution in Eastern and Southern Africa

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Zulu, Gideon
Stelzle, Dominik
Mwape, Kabemba E.
Welte, Tamara M.
Strømme, Hilde
Mubanga, Chishimba
Mutale, Wilbroad
Abraham, Annette
Hachangu, Alex
Schmidt, Veronika


Taenia solium is a tapeworm that causes taeniosis in humans and cysticercosis in humans and pigs. Within Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), information on the presence of human taeniosis and cysticercosis seems scarce. This systematic review aimed to describe the current information available and gaps in the epidemiology of human T. solium infections in ESA. Methods/Principle findings

Scientific literature published between 1st January 2000 and 20th June 2022 in international databases [MEDLINE (Ovid), Embase (Ovid), Global Health (Ovid), Scopus (Elsevier), African Index Medicus (via WHO Global Index Medicus), and Open Grey] was systematically reviewed for ESA. The study area included 27 countries that make up the ESA region. Information on either taeniosis, cysticercosis or NCC was available for 16 of 27 countries within the region and a total of 113 reports were retained for the review. Most case reports for cysticercosis and NCC were from South Africa, while Tanzania had the most aggregated cysticercosis reports. Eleven countries reported on NCC with seven countries reporting data on NCC and epilepsy. Unconfirmed human T. solium taeniosis cases were reported in nine countries while two countries (Madagascar and Zambia) reported confirmed T. solium cases. The cysticercosis seroprevalence ranged between 0.7–40.8% on antigen (Ag) ELISA and between 13.1–45.3% on antibody (Ab) ELISA. Based on immunoblot tests the Ab seroprevalence was between 1.7–39.3%, while the proportion of NCC-suggestive lesions on brain CT scans was between 1.0–76% depending on the study population. The human taeniosis prevalence based on microscopy ranged between 0.1–14.7%. Based on Copro Ag-ELISA studies conducted in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia, the highest prevalence of 19.7% was reported in Kenya. Conclusions

Despite the public health and economic impact of T. solium in ESA, there are still large gaps in knowledge about the occurrence of the parasite, and the resulting One Health disease complex, and monitoring of T. solium taeniosis and cysticercosis is mostly not in place.

Journal Title
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 17.3 (2023): e0011042.

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