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Parasit Vectors. 2019 Apr 18;12(1):175. doi: 10.1186/s13071-019-3438-3.

Epidemiology of Taenia saginata taeniosis/cysticercosis: a systematic review of the distribution in central and western Asia and the Caucasus.

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Section of Epidemiology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 270, 8057, Zürich, Switzerland.
Kazakh Scientific Veterinary Research Institute, Raiymbek 223, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Government Sanito-Epidemiology Unit, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Scientific-Practical Centre for Sanitary-Epidemiological Expertise and Monitoring, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
International Livestock Research Institute, P.O. Box 30709, Nairobi, 00100, Kenya.
Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, 8 W Derby St, Liverpool, L7 3EA, UK.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Sciensano, Rue J Wytsman 14, 1050, Brussels, Belgium.
Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820, Merelbeke, Belgium.
Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820, Merelbeke, Belgium.
One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 334, Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, Statens Serum Institut, 2300, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Veterinary Research Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organisation Demeter, 57001, Thermi, Greece.
Parasitology, Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Adamstuen Campus, Oslo, Norway.
Centre of Excellence for Food and Vector-borne Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, Dr Subotića 4, Belgrade, 11000, Serbia.



The zoonotic parasite Taenia saginata transmits between humans, the definitive host (causing taeniosis), and bovines as the intermediate host (causing cysticercosis). Central and western Asia and the Caucasus have large cattle populations and beef consumption is widespread. However, an overview of the extent of human T. saginata infection and bovine cysticercosis is lacking. This review aims to summarize the distribution of T. saginata in this region.


A systematic review was conducted, that gathered published and grey literature, and official data concerning T. saginata taeniosis and bovine cysticercosis in central and western Asia and the Caucasus published between January 1st, 1990 and December 31st, 2018. Where no data were available for a country within this period, published data from 1985-1990 were also accessed.


From 10,786 articles initially scanned, we retrieved 98 full-text articles from which data were extracted. In addition, two unpublished datasets were provided on the incidence of human taeniosis. Data for human taeniosis and bovine cysticercosis were found for all countries except Turkmenistan. Human taeniosis prevalence varied from undetected to over 5.3%, with regional variations. Where bovine cysticercosis was detected, prevalences varied from case reports to 25%.


The public health burden of T. saginata is assumed to be small as the parasite is of low pathogenicity to humans. However, this review indicates that infection continues to be widespread and this may result in a large economic burden, due to the resources utilized in meat inspection and condemnation or processing with subsequent downgrading of infected carcasses.


Beef tapeworm; Bovine cysticercosis; Caucasus; Central Asia; Cestode; Iran; Taenia saginata; Taeniosis; Turkey

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