Spatial distribution of Taenia solium porcine cysticercosis within a rural area of Mexico

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Abstract

Cysticercosis is caused by Taenia solium, a parasitic disease that affects humans and rurally bred pigs in developing countries. The cysticercus may localize in the central nervous system of the human, causing neurocysticercosis, the most severe and frequent form of the disease. There appears to be an association between the prevalence of porcine cysticercosis and domestic pigs that wander freely and have access to human feces. In order to assess whether the risk of cysticercosis infection is clustered or widely dispersed in a limited rural area, a spatial analysis of rural porcine cysticercosis was applied to 13 villages of the Sierra de Huautla in Central Mexico. Clustering of cases in specific households would indicate tapeworm carriers in the vicinity, whereas their dispersal would suggest that the ambulatory habits of both humans and pigs contribute to the spread of cysticercosis. A total of 562 pigs were included in this study (August-December 2003). A global positioning system was employed in order to plot the geographic distribution of both cysticercotic pigs and risk factors for infection within the villages. Prevalence of pig tongue cysticercosis varied significantly in sampled villages (p = 0.003), ranging from 0% to 33.3% and averaging 13.3%. Pigs were clustered in households, but no differences in the clustering of cysticercotic and healthy pigs were found. In contrast, the presence of pigs roaming freely and drinking stagnant water correlated significantly with porcine cysticercosis (p = 0.07), as did the absence of latrines (p = 0.0008). High prevalence of porcine cysticercosis proves that transmission is still quite common in rural Mexico. The lack of significant differentiation in the geographical clustering of healthy and cysticercotic pigs weakens the argument that focal factors (e.g., household location of putative tapeworm carriers) play an important role in increasing the risk of cysticercosis transmission in pigs. Instead, it would appear that other wide-ranging biological, physical, and cultural factors determine the geographic spread of the disease. Extensive geographic dispersal of the risk of cysticercosis makes it imperative that control measures be applied indiscriminately to all pigs and humans living in this endemic area. © 2008 Morales et al.

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Morales, J., Martínez, J. J., Rosetti, M., Fleury, A., Maza, V., Hernandez, M., … Sciutto, E. (2008). Spatial distribution of Taenia solium porcine cysticercosis within a rural area of Mexico. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0000284

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