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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013;7(3):e2102. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002102. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Prevalence and risk factors associated with human Taenia solium infections in Mbozi District, Mbeya Region, Tanzania.

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School of Public Health and Social Sciences, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.



Taenia solium cysticercosis/taeniosis is emerging as a serious public health and economic problem in many developing countries. This study was conducted to determine prevalence and risk factors of human T. solium infections in Mbeya Region, Tanzania.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 13 villages of Mbozi district in 2009. Sera of 830 people (mean 37.9±11.3 years (SD); 43% females) were tested for circulating cysticerci antigen (Ag-ELISA) and antibody (Ab-ELISA). A subset of persons found seropositive by Ag-ELISA underwent computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain for evidence of neurocysticercosis. Stool samples from 820 of the same participants were tested for taeniosis by copro-antigens (copro-Ag-ELISA) and formol-ether concentration technique. Cases of T. solium taeniosis were confirmed serologically by EITB assay (rES38). A questionnaire was used for identification of risk factors. Active cysticercosis by positive Ag-ELISA was found in 139 (16.7%) persons while anti-cysticercal antibodies were detected in 376 (45.3%) persons by Ab-ELISA. Among 55 persons positive for Ag-ELISA undergoing CT scan, 30 (54.6%) were found to have structures in the brain suggestive of neurocysticercosis. Using faecal analysis, 43 (5.2%) stool samples tested positive for taeniosis by copro-Ag-ELISA while Taenia eggs were detected in 9 (1.1%) stool samples by routine coprology. Antibodies specifically against adult T. solium were detected in 34 copro-Ag-ELISA positive participants by EITB (rES38) indicating T. solium taeniosis prevalence of 4.1%. Increasing age and hand washing by dipping in contrast to using running water, were found associated with Ag-ELISA seropositivity by logistic regression. Gender (higher risk in females) and water source were risk factors associated with Ab-ELISA seropositivity. Reported symptoms of chronic severe headaches and history of epileptic seizures were found associated with positive Ag-ELISA (p≤0.05).


The present study indicates T. solium infection in humans is highly endemic in the southern highlands of Tanzania.

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