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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370619

Research Project: Developing Safe, Efficient and Environmentally Sound Management Practices for the Use of Animal Manure

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: Bovine cysticercosis and human taeniasis in a rural community in Ethiopia

item GUTEMA, FANTA - Addis Ababa University
item TEFERI, SHIBERU - Addis Ababa University
item Agga, Getahun
item ABDI, RETA - Long Island University
item HIKO, ADEM - Ethiopia Haramaya University
item TUFA, TAKELE - Addis Ababa University
item HAILU, YACOB - Addis Ababa University

Submitted to: Zoonoses and Public Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/2020
Publication Date: 6/19/2020
Citation: Gutema, F.D., Teferi, S., Agga, G.E., Abdi, R.D., Hiko, A., Tufa, T.B., Hailu, Y. 2020. Bovine cysticercosis and human taeniasis in a rural community in Ethiopia. Zoonoses and Public Health. 67(5):525-533.

Interpretive Summary: Bovine cysticercosis, commonly referred to as “beef measles”, is a worldwide disease that affects people and cattle. It is caused by the tapeworm Taenia saginata. Humans are mandatory host for the tapeworm, and cattle are the most common intermediate host. Cattle become infected when they ingest pasture contaminated with eggs shed in human feces. Once ingested by cattle, eggs develop into larvae and migrate to muscle tissue, most commonly the heart or around the jaw, diaphragm and tongue. Each larva forms a fluid cyst surrounded by a fibrous capsule, known as a cysticercus or Cysticercosis bovis. People can become infected when they eat raw or undercooked meat containing the tapeworm larval cysts. Meat inspection, basic hygiene and proper cooking of meat before consumption provide effective means to prevent environmental contamination and human infection. However, such measures are limited or absent in most communities in developing countries. A study conducted in a rural community in Ethiopia found that the parasite was present in cattle, and very common among humans. Raw or undercooked meat consumption is very common, and people commonly use traditional treatment practices which are not scientifically proven for effectiveness or safety. The study highlights the need for meat inspection services, provision of basic hygiene facilities and public education to properly cook beef before consumption.

Technical Abstract: Bovine cysticercosis is a worldwide zoonotic disease that affects cattle caused by the larval stage of the tapeworm Taenia saginata, the adult parasite that causes taeniasis in humans. Although bovine cysticercosis, and the associated human taeniasis, is controlled in developed countries, it is one of the neglected tropical diseases. Like other parts of Ethiopia, raw or undercooked beef consumption is common in the rural community of Yem district with no meat inspection services. We conducted an abattoir survey to estimate the prevalence of bovine cysticercosis in cattle and a questionnaire survey to determine the level of historical human taeniasis infection in Yem district of Ethiopia. Bovine cysticercosis was detected in 3.1% of 485 cattle examined. Although animal level prevalence was low, a subset of positive animals had a higher rate of cysticercosis infection widely distributed in various parts of the body. Over two-fifths (40%) of the cysts were found in the tongue making it an important organ to look for during meat inspection. Over half of the cysts were viable indicating their potential to infect people. History of taeniasis was reported by 71.5% of 151 residents interviewed during the study. Raw meat consumption was very common (89.4%) among the residents; people who consumed raw meat were 25 times more likely to report taeniasis than those who did not. In addition, traditional treatments using herbs and chemicals of unknown efficacy and risk were very common. Bovine cysticercosis and human taeniasis are important in this rural community. Providing meat inspection services and public health education on intervention measures such as proper cooking of meat, access to latrines and clean water are effective strategies that can break the lifecycle of the parasite and ensure beef safety and public health.