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Seroprevalence and awareness of porcine cysticercosis across different pig production systems in south-central Cambodia

Adenuga, Aderosoye, Mateus, Ana, Ty, Chhay, Borin, Khieu, Holl, Davun, San, Sorn, Duggan, Victoria, Clark, Madeleine, Smith, Gavin J.D., Coker, Richard, Vaughn, Andrew, Rudge, James W.
Parasite epidemiology and control 2018 v.3 no.1 pp. 1-12
Taenia solium, antigens, commercial farms, cross-sectional studies, cysticercosis, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, humans, pork, production technology, public health, questionnaires, risk, seroprevalence, slaughter, slaughterhouses, surface water, swine, swine production, tapeworms, wastes, Cambodia
Taeniasis/cysticercosis, caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium, represents an important public health and economic burden in endemic countries. However, there is a paucity of data on infection among pigs in many parts of Southeast Asia, particularly Cambodia. We aimed to estimate seroprevalence of porcine cysticercosis, and investigate husbandary practices and knowledge of the disease among livestock workers, across different pig sector units in south-central Cambodia.A cross sectional survey was conducted among pig smallholders, commercial farms, slaughterhouses and traders/middlemen from south-central Cambodia, selected through multistage sampling in proportion to local pig populations sizes. Questionnaires were administered to 163 pig workers to obtain data pig production, trading and slaughtering practices. Sera from 620 pigs were tested for Taenia antigens using a commercial ELISA-based test. Associations between seroprevalence and pig husbandry practices were assessed using generalised linear mixed models, adjusting for random-effects at herd-level.Of 620 pigs sampled, 29 (4.7%) tested positive for Taenia antigens. Seropositivity was associated with type of pig sector unit (P=0.008), with the highest seroprevalence among pigs sampled from traders/middlemen (16.7%; 95% CI: 4.4%–37.8%), smallholders (7.6%; 95% CI: 3.8%–14.1%) and slaughterhouses (4.1%; 95% CI: 2.0%–7.5%), while none of the pigs sampled from small/medium or large commercial farms tested positive. Although the vast majority of pigs were penned, practices that might facilitate human-to-pig transmission, such as use of household waste and surface water sources to feed pigs, were prevalent among smallholders. However these were not found to be significantly associated with infection. Of 163 interviewed pig workers, 115 (70.5%) were aware of porcine cysticercosis, and 78 (47.8%) also knew it could affect humans. Twenty-six (16.0%) reported having noticed lesions typical of cysticercosis in their pigs.Despite most pigs being kept confined in pens rather than raised in free-roaming systems, porcine cysticercosis appears to be endemic in south-central Cambodia and is associated with smallholder production. Further investigation is needed to identify which Taenia species are causing infections among pigs, and how seroprevalence and zoonotic risk may vary across the country, to understand the risks to public health and assess where interventions might be needed.