Pig-keeping and pork consumption have increased significantly in eastern and southern Africa (ESA) during the past decade. A high and increasing prevalence of epilepsy in ESA, without a clear etiology, and an increase in cases of porcine cysticercosis have been noted in the region. Two Danida-funded projects have addressed the problem, first by assessing the prevalence, risks and impacts of T. solium taeniosis/cysticercosis in both humans and pigs in Mozambique and Tanzania from 2006-2009, and, through an on-going project, by trying to develop sustainable solutions for control of the disease. The study areas include Tete province, western Mozambique and Mbeya region, southern Tanzania. The prevalence of T. solium cysticercosis in the area was found to be between 31-35% in pigs and 15-18% in humans based on an Ag-ELISA. In addition 45% of the human population was found to be Ab-positive for cysticercosis. Among a subgroup of the participants in Mozambique, 72% (77/107 Ag-positive) compared to 18% (8/44 Ag-negative) were having abnormal CT-scans suggestive of neurocysticercosis. Epilepsy was, in both countries, very common and strongly associated with stigmatization. Risk factors for T. solium infections included poor pig husbandry practices especially free ranging of pigs, open defecation, age of pigs, pork cooking practices, lack of meat inspection, and lack of knowledge regarding transmission of the disease. The on-going project focuses on health education and proper pig management as means to control not only T. solium cysticercosis, but also African swine fever, another serious constraint for improving the livelihood of smallholder pig producers in the region.
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MED VET NET Association International Scientific Conference, 2013