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Publication - Professor Mark Eisler

    Overview of Taenia solium cysticercosis in West Africa


    Weka, RP, Kamani, J, Cogan, T, Eisler, M & Morgan, ER, 2019, ‘Overview of Taenia solium cysticercosis in West Africa’. Acta Tropica, vol 190., pp. 329-338


    Human and porcine cysticercosis is endemic in West Africa, where epilepsy is relatively common, but rarely reported due to fear of stigmatization. Neurocysticercosis, caused by Taenia solium, tends to affect the poor in developing countries and control is hampered by inadequate infrastructure and financial resources coupled with lack of adequate information about its significance and distribution. The risk factors for human cysticercosis are closely associated with the characteristics of smallholder or backyard pig farming systems prevalent in this region. Poverty, ignorance and lack of political will militate against successful eradication, while tools for effective diagnosis, prevention and treatment, including vaccines for pigs, are not yet available in many countries. Cysticercosis was targeted for control by The World Health Organization global plan for 2008–2015; however, measures for control are yet to be undertaken in a coordinated manner in West Africa. Diagnostic tools, including neuroimaging facilities, should be strategically situated and made accessible to rural populations in West Africa. Community education in combination with a multipronged approach consisting of vaccination of pigs using TSOL18 vaccine and treatment with oxfendazole along with mass chemotherapy of humans with praziquantel could eliminate taeniasis and should be considered. In-depth and extensive epidemiological studies are required in West Africa in order to fully elucidate the prevalence of T. solium and to support more coordinated and effective control of human and porcine cysticercosis.

    Full details in the University publications repository