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Parasit Vectors. 2017 Jul 21;10(1):349. doi: 10.1186/s13071-017-2280-8.

Epidemiology of taeniosis/cysticercosis in Europe, a systematic review: Western Europe.

Author information

IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, IRTA-UAB), Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 08193, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Public Health and Surveillance, Scientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP), Brussels, Belgium.
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.
IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, IRTA-UAB), Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 08193, Barcelona, Spain.
Departament de Sanitat i Anatomia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 08193, Barcelona, Spain.
Veterinary Research Institute, HAO-DEMETER, Campus Thermi, 57001, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Centre for Global Health, Department of Neurology, Technical University Munich, Ismaninger Strasse 22, 81675, Munich, Germany.
Centre for Global Health, Department of Community Medicine and Global Health, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, Kirkeveien 166, 0450, Oslo, Norway.
Divisão de Proteção Veterinária e Pecuária, Direção de Serviços de Alimentação e Veterinária, Direção Regional de Agricultura, Secretaria Regional de Agricultura e Pescas, Av. Arriaga, 21 Edifício Golden, 3° Andar, 9000-690, Funchal, Portugal.
Institute for Acute Neurology and Stroke, Academic Teaching Hospital Feldkirch, Feldkirch, Austria.
Department of Veterinary Sciences, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, 5000-801, Vila Real, Portugal.
Center for Parasite Biology and Immunology, National Institute of Health Dr. Ricardo Jorge, Rua Alexandre Herculano 321, 4000-055, Porto, Portugal.
Center for the Study of Animal Science (CECA), Institute for Agricultural and Agro-Alimentary Science and Technology (ICETA), University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
National Institute for Agrarian and Veterinary Research, Oeiras, Portugal.
European Union Reference Laboratory for Parasites, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161, Rome, Italy.
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 66, 00014, Helsinki, Finland.
Laboratory of Parasitology, Department of Bacteria, Fungi & Parasites, Infectious Disease Preparedness, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, DK-2300, Copenhagen S, Denmark.
Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences and Population Medicine, Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 62, 51014, Tartu, Estonia.
Department of Neurology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University Munich, Ismaninger Straße 22, 81675, Munich, Germany.
Institute for Microbiology and Parasitology, Veterinary Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Gerbičeva 60, 1000, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Centre for Medical Parasitology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, section for Parasitology and Aquatic Diseases, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Adamstuen Campus, 0033, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Neurology, NICU Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020, Innsbruck, Austria.
Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Clinic for reproduction and large animals - section for ruminants, Veterinary faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
National Veterinary Institute, SE-751 89, Uppsala, Sweden.
CECAV - Animal and Veterinary Research Centre, UTAD, Quinta de Prados, 5000-801, Vila Real, Portugal.
Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas (ICAAM), Universidade de Évora, Évora, Portugal.
Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Southampton, England, SO17 1BJ, UK.



Taenia solium and Taenia saginata are zoonotic parasites of public health importance. Data on their occurrence in humans and animals in western Europe are incomplete and fragmented. In this study, we aimed to update the current knowledge on the epidemiology of these parasites in this region.


We conducted a systematic review of scientific and grey literature published from 1990 to 2015 on the epidemiology of T. saginata and T. solium in humans and animals. Additionally, data about disease occurrence were actively sought by contacting local experts in the different countries.


Taeniosis cases were found in twelve out of eighteen countries in western Europe. No cases were identified in Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. For Denmark, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the UK, annual taeniosis cases were reported and the number of detected cases per year ranged between 1 and 114. Detected prevalences ranged from 0.05 to 0.27%, whereas estimated prevalences ranged from 0.02 to 0.67%. Most taeniosis cases were reported as Taenia spp. or T. saginata, although T. solium was reported in Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Portugal and the UK. Human cysticercosis cases were reported in all western European countries except for Iceland, with the highest number originating from Portugal and Spain. Most human cysticercosis cases were suspected to have acquired the infection outside western Europe. Cases of T. solium in pigs were found in Austria and Portugal, but only the two cases from Portugal were confirmed with molecular methods. Germany, Spain and Slovenia reported porcine cysticercosis, but made no Taenia species distinction. Bovine cysticercosis was detected in all countries except for Iceland, with a prevalence based on meat inspection of 0.0002-7.82%.


Detection and reporting of taeniosis in western Europe should be improved. The existence of T. solium tapeworm carriers, of suspected autochthonous cases of human cysticercosis and the lack of confirmation of porcine cysticercosis cases deserve further attention. Suspected cases of T. solium in pigs should be confirmed by molecular methods. Both taeniosis and human cysticercosis should be notifiable and surveillance in animals should be improved.


Bovine cysticercosis; Neurocysticercosis; Porcine cysticercosis; Taenia saginata; Taenia solium; Taeniasis

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