Overview of Taenia solium cysticercosis in West Africa

Rebecca Paul Weka*, Joshua Kamani, Tristan Cogan, Mark Eisler, Eric R. Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


Human and porcine cysticercosis is endemic in West Africa, where epilepsy is relatively common, but rarely reported due to fear of stigmatization. Neurocysticercosis, caused by Taenia solium, tends to affect the poor in developing countries and control is hampered by inadequate infrastructure and financial resources coupled with lack of adequate information about its significance and distribution. The risk factors for human cysticercosis are closely associated with the characteristics of smallholder or backyard pig farming systems prevalent in this region. Poverty, ignorance and lack of political will militate against successful eradication, while tools for effective diagnosis, prevention and treatment, including vaccines for pigs, are not yet available in many countries. Cysticercosis was targeted for control by The World Health Organization global plan for 2008–2015; however, measures for control are yet to be undertaken in a coordinated manner in West Africa. Diagnostic tools, including neuroimaging facilities, should be strategically situated and made accessible to rural populations in West Africa. Community education in combination with a multipronged approach consisting of vaccination of pigs using TSOL18 vaccine and treatment with oxfendazole along with mass chemotherapy of humans with praziquantel could eliminate taeniasis and should be considered. In-depth and extensive epidemiological studies are required in West Africa in order to fully elucidate the prevalence of T. solium and to support more coordinated and effective control of human and porcine cysticercosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-338
Number of pages10
JournalActa Tropica
Early online date7 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Africa, Western/epidemiology
  • Animals
  • Cysticercosis/diagnosis
  • Developing Countries
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases/diagnosis
  • Taenia solium
  • Taeniasis/diagnosis
  • Vaccination


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