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Current status of cysticercosis in Vietnam.

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  • 1WHO/FAO Collaborating Center for Parasitic Zoonoses, Danish Center for Experimental Parasitology, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark.


This English review concerning the current status of cysticercosis in Vietnam has been compiled from various reports of studies conducted over the past 15 years, which have appeared in national publications in Vietnamese, in order to make the information available to the international community. Hospital surveys indicate that cysticercosis is emerging as a serious health problem in the country though most of the information comes from the Hanoi area. Many more men than women are being treated for cysticercosis with most patients being young to middle-aged adults though several juvenile cases have been seen in the south. Clinical manifestations of the disease in humans include subcutaneous nodules, epileptic seizures, severe headache, impaired vision and memory loss. Albendazole has been found to be the best drug for treating cysticercosis though it does not appear to be totally effective for curing cerebral cysts. Information concerning porcine and bovine cysticercosis is very limited and based mostly on passive surveillance at Hanoi slaughterhouses. Surveys for human taeniasis in central and northern provinces indicate a prevalence of 0.2-7.2%. However, techniques of low sensitivity were used and the results are inconclusive since it is unknown with which species of tapeworm the people were infected. In addition to Taenia solium which causes human cysticercosis, T. saginata and T. asiatica are also known to be present in Vietnam. Risk factors investigated thus far with regard to transmission of T. solium suggest that consumption of raw pork, inadequate or absent meat inspection and control, poor sanitation in some areas, and the use of untreated human waste as fertilizer for crops may play important roles in Vietnam but this remains to be validated. The evidence thus far collected suggests that a national surveillance program for cysticercosis is a great need for Vietnam. The authors recommend further research on the epidemiology and impact of cysticercosis in both human and pig hosts in order to determine whether a prevention and control program in Vietnam would be merited and cost effective.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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