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Doctoral thesis, 2020

Transmission biology of porcine cysticercosis in eastern-central Tanzania

Maganira, Justine


Porcine cysticercosis (PC) is a neglected zoonotic disease usually acquired by pigs after ingestion of Taenia solium eggs from food or an environment contaminated with human faeces of a pork tapeworm carrier. The disease has serious veterinary and public health implications in low-income endemic countries. The biology and molecular detection of the parasite in the intermediate host and the environment remain a serious concern. This thesis determined the seroprevalence of PC and its associated risk factors including the potential role of soil in the transmission of the eggs of the parasite in four rural villages of Kongwa district in eastern-central Tanzania; evaluated the effectiveness of a novel droplet digital Polymerase Chain Reaction (ddPCR) for detection of taeniid eggs in soil and finally; evaluated the diagnostic potential of pork meat juice for serological detection of PC. The seroprevalence of circulating taeniid antigens indicative of cysticercosis in pigs was found to be 17% using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), suggesting the presence of people harbouring adult T. solium. Indiscriminate defecation, free-range pig husbandry and source of reared pigs were identified using questionnaire as risk factors for PC transmission in the surveyed villages in Kongwa. The ddPCR technology was found to be effective in detecting taeniid egg DNA from soil using spiked and field soil samples. However, the rate of soil contamination by T. solium egg DNA detected by the ddPCR in 96 surveyed households in the surveyed villages was low (3.1%), suggesting a low risk of both pigs and humans acquiring cysticercosis through contaminated soil. The sensitivity of cysticercosis antibody ELISA using sera was 100%; whereas the overall sensitivity for meat juice was 38%. On the other hand, the sensitivity of the antibody ELISA was high in meat juice extracted from the diaphragm (100%), heart (89%) and neck (78%) muscles of infected pigs as compared to other carcass tissues. Meat juice from these tissues also gave higher mean antibody levels similar to sera suggesting that they may be used for the screening of PC after slaughter. Taenia solium is endemic in the study area. To safeguard veterinary and public health and curb economic losses in Kongwa, intervention measures are vital to implement. 


Taenia solium, porcine cysticercosis, ELISA, meat juice, taeniid eggs, soil contamination, ddPCR, Kongwa, Tanzania

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2020, number: 2020:18
ISBN: 978-91-7760-554-6, eISBN: 978-91-7760-555-3
Publisher: Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Maganira, Justine
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health

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