Prevalence of cystic echinococcosis in livestock slaughtered in selected abattoirs of Laikipia West Sub-County, Kenya

  • M.I. Gachengo
  • G Kikuvi
  • E Mulinge
  • E Zeyhle
  • C.K. Mbae


Background: Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a neglected, emerging and reemerging zoonotic disease caused by the larval stage of the dog tapeworm of the genus Echinococcus. It causes great public health and economic concerns wherever it occurs. CE is endemic in Kenya and most studies done in the country focused on two loci; Turkana and Maasai communities. The prevalence of CE has not been documented in Laikipia County which is located between two CE hot spot areas in Kenya.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of CE in livestock slaughtered in abattoirs of Laikipia west Sub County

Design: A cross-sectional study

Setting: Three selected abattoirs in Laikipia west Sub County

Subjects: All cattle, sheep and goats slaughtered in the selected abattoirs between October and December, 2015.

Main outcome measures: Species, sex, CE status, and origin

Results: A total of 339 cattle, 1396 sheep and 478 goats were examined for presence of hydatid cysts in both the thoracic and abdominal cavities during postmortem meat inspection. Overall prevalence was 3.3% and individual species’ prevalence was 11.8%, 1.5% and 2.3% in cattle, sheep and goats respectively. Most (99.1 %) slaughter animals originated from the study area. Forty-three percent (31/72) of the CE positive animals had fertile cysts and 87.1% of them originated from the study area.

Conclusion: The results show a significantly higher prevalence of CE in cattle with most slaughter animals and those with fertile cysts originating from the study area. Possible implications for public health and the livestock economy require immediate control measures.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X