Porcine Cysticercosis – An emerging neglected food-borne parasitic zoonosis in urban settings in Tanzania: Need for immediate control strategies
Porcine cysticercosis (PCC) caused by larval stage of Taenia solium is a neglected parasitic zoonosis with significant economic and public health impacts worldwide. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked it first on the global scale of food borne parasites. In endemic countries, it is an emerging food borne parasitic zoonosis in urban centres where infected pigs from rural areas are slaughtered and consumed. The public is at risk of acquiring the infection due to the fact that meat inspection and control is inadequate in most low income countries. A survey was conducted to establish the status of PCC in pigs slaughtered in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Mbeya cities; and to assess the existence of possible risk factors for its transmission in Dar es Salaam city. Meat inspection records from official slaughter slabs for the year 2016 and 2017 for Arusha and Mbeya and meat inspection findings in Dar es Salaam for a period of October, 2017 to January 2018 were used. The results revealed PCC infection rate of 1.74% (n= 957) in Arusha, 6.3% (n=766), in Dar es Salaam and 0.27% (n= 35418) in Mbeya, and overall infection rate was 0.68% (=45761). All infected pigs originated from rural areas. Possible risk factors for T. solium cysticercosis transmission in Dar es salaam city, as determined through a questionnaire survey, included lack of centralized slaughtering facilities for pigs, inadequate meat inspectors, lack or inadequate meat inspection and control, poor knowledge among butchers and pork vendors about the parasite and possible public health implications. The findings indicated that the public was at high risk of acquiring infection if immediate control measures were not taken. In view of this, it is recommended that pig slaughtering should be centralized for effective inspection and pork control. Lastly, disease control programmes should be formulated using one health approach targeting all actors in pig value chain.
Key words: Arusha, Dar es salaam, Mbeya, T. solium, pigs, one health