Prevalence of Taenia Solium and Soil transmitted Helminths in Rural Communities of Monze District of Southern Zambia
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To determine the prevalence of Taenia solium and soil-transmitted helminth (STHs) in rural communities of Monze district of Southern Province of Zambia, a cross-sectional study was carried out in 11 villages in pigs and in five villages in humans. To detect T. solium infections in pigs, tongue examination of live pigs and assessment of the presence of circulating cysticerci antigen by B158/B60 monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay (Ag-ELISA) in serum were used. Copro-microscopy and polyclonal antibody-based copro-antigen enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay (Co-Ag-ELISA) were used to detect taeniosis in stool samples while cysticercosis in human sera was assessed using the Ag-ELISA. Copro-microscopy (McMaster method) was used to diagnose STHs in human stool. Of the 275 pigs sampled, 6 (2.2%) were positive on tongue examination and 32 (11.6%) were positive on Ag-ELISA. Significant differences (χ2 = 36.08, p < 0.05) in the prevalence of porcine cysticercosis by Ag-ELISA were observed among the villages sampled but not on tongue examination. The overall prevalence of cysticercosis among the 163 humans sampled was 14.7%. There was no significant difference (χ2 = 4.84, p = 0.290) in the prevalence of human cysticercosis on Ag-ELISA among the villages. Only one sample (0.8%) out of the total 133 human stool samples examined by microscopy (formol-ether concentration method) was positive for Taenia species eggs. Of the total 131 stool samples examined by copro-antigen Co-Ag-ELISA, 9.9% were positive for taeniosis. There were no significant differences (χ2 = 5.06, p = 0.247) in the prevalence of taeniosis by Co-Ag-ELISA among the five villages sampled. The overall prevalence of STHs among the 133 individuals examined by copromicroscopic examination was 16.5% comprising Ancylostoma spp. (15.04%) and Trichuris spp. (1.5%). The results of this study confirm the co-endemicity of T. solium infections both in the intermediate host (pig/human) and the final host (human), implying that the factors that maintain the life cycle of the parasite are present in this study area. The study further revealed that STH infections, predominantly comprising hookworms, are endemic in the study area. Since both T. solium and STH infections are associated with poor sanitation, success in controlling these parasites lies in synergized control strategies among medical health workers, veterinarians, community workers, policy makers and the community itself. Programmes that are community centered and driven like the on-going Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) should be embraced and scaled up to combat not only T. solium infections both in humans and pigs but STH infections as well. Education of villagers at schools, village meetings and on individual basis about the parasite life cycle and the connection between infected pigs and themselves and others getting cysticercosis, should be done with coordinated efforts between medical personnel and veterinarians. Further monitoring, research employing more sensitive diagnostic techniques and surveillance in both humans and pigs are recommended. Members of the community should also be educated on the life cycles of STHs for them to learn how to prevent infections instead of concentrating solely on mass deworming.
- Veterinary Medicine