If ingested, eggs of the Taenia solium pork tapeworm can develop into cysts and infect the human brain. This is one of the major causes of acquired epilepsy in developing countries.
Our researchers are examining whether Taenia solium can be eliminated within a short period of time, combining strategies such as treatment of humans and pigs and health education. The researchers will also determine the estimated costs of elimination versus control options and whether the methodologies employed would be acceptable for local communities.
Taenia solium elimination versus control: what is the best way forward in Sub-Saharan Africa?
- Sarah Gabriël (Department of Biomedical Sciences)
- Pierre Dorny (Department of Biomedical Sciences),
- Dirk Berkvens (Department of Biomedical Sciences)
- Taenia solium is a pork tapeworm. This worm can be transferred between animals and humans.
- The adult worm lives in the intestines of humans. People infected with the worm excrete thousands of eggs through the stool.
- People can ingest tapeworm eggs, either via contaminated food/water or via faecal-oral contamination (e.g. not washing hands when preparing food). Subsequently the eggs develop into larvae (cysts).
- These cysts can infect the brain and are one of the major causes of acquired epilepsy in developing countries.
- More than 90% of people with epilepsy in Sub-Saharan Africa do not receive appropriate treatment. Consequently, people with epilepsy continue to be stigmatized and have a low quality of life.