Human taeniasis/cysticercosis: a potentially emerging parasitic disease in Europe

Authors Isaia Symeonidou, Konstantinos Arsenopoulos, Dimitrios Tzilves, Barbara Soba, Sarah Gabriël, Elias Papadopoulos.


Taenia saginata (T. saginata)/Taenia solium (T. solium) taeniasis/cysticercosis disease complexes remain a significant challenge for food safety and public health. Human taeniasis is an infectious disease caused by the ingestion of the metacestode larval stage, the cysticerci of T. saginata in beef or T. solium in pork. Humans can also become infected via the ingestion of T. solium eggs. In this case, the cysticerci can establish in the central nervous system, causing the infection called neurocysticercosis. T. solium is of higher importance than T. saginata because the former species can cause neurocysticercosis in humans, a major cause of neurological morbidity in the world. The taeniasis/cysticercosis complex is included in the list of neglected zoonotic diseases by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, with T. solium being the number one foodborne parasite; it occurs mostly in developing countries, such as regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the disease remains endemic. Long absent in Western Europe and other developed countries, cysticercosis has been recently re-emerged as a result of immigration, travel and commerce. In this review, cysticercosis is presented with special emphasis on some aspects of this neglected disease: the main clinical manifestations, risk factors and epidemiology. In addition, any recent advances in diagnostic approaches and treatment are discussed. Finally, the complexities involved in the control of the disease and the need to revise current management strategies are highlighted.

Keywords Taeniasis/cysticercosis, Taenia solium, Taenia saginata, neurocysticercosis

Ann Gastroenterol 2018; 31 (4): 406-412

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