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Vet Parasitol. 2002 Aug 30;108(1):31-9.

The prevalence of porcine cysticercosis in Eastern and Southern provinces of Zambia.

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Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia.


The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and importance of porcine cysticercosis in rural areas of Zambia. The study involved an abattoir survey of 1316 pigs at a slaughter slab in Lusaka and two field surveys in villages in Southern and Eastern provinces. Lingual examination of live pigs and visual inspection of their carcass as well as blood sampling for measuring circulating parasite antigen by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Ag-ELISA) were used as parameters to measure infection. In the field surveys, a questionnaire was administered to every household whose pigs were examined to obtain information on pig husbandry practices and to study risk factors for the infection. Out of the 1316 pigs examined at the slaughter slab, 143 (10.9%) and 271 (20.6%) were positive by lingual examination and meat inspection, respectively. Most of the pigs were very heavily infected with predominantly live cysts. The field surveys revealed that eight (8.2%) out of 98 pigs from Southern province and eight (5.2%) out of 151 pigs from Eastern province were positive for cysticercosis by tongue palpation. Using the Ag-ELISA 20 (20.8%) and 14 (9.3%) pigs were positive in Southern and Eastern provinces, respectively. The questionnaire survey revealed poor pig husbandry practices, absence of meat inspection and control, poor knowledge of the disease and poor sanitation in the surveyed villages. The prevalence of pig cysticercosis found in this study ranks among the highest in the southern African region, in Africa and in the world. The current study suggests the presence of human tapeworm carriers and a high risk of human cysticercosis in the surveyed areas as well as in urban centres where pigs from rural areas are increasingly sold, slaughtered and consumed.

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