The value of tongue and meat inspection as diagnostic tools for porcine cysticercosis was assessed in 65 Zambian village pigs by comparing the results with carcass dissections. In addition, the intensity of infections, distribution and viability of cysts in infected pigs were measured. Five pigs (7.7%) were positive on tongue examination, while routine meat inspection showed 12 (18.5%) positives. However, carcass dissections detected cysticerci in 31 (47.7%) pigs. The range in number of cysticerci was 1 to 14,662 per carcass. Cysticerci were distributed throughout the carcass with the highest concentration in the heart, tongue and hind legs. In one animal 13 viable cysts were detected only in the brain. Fourteen pigs had more than 100 viable cysts, six between 2 and 100, and four had single cyst infections. Seven animals harboured only calcified cysts. These findings demonstrate the serious shortcomings of routine detection methods for porcine cysticercosis. While the specificity of tongue palpation and meat inspection was 100%, these tests failed to detect the infection in 83.9% and 61.3% of infected pigs, respectively.
(Accepted June 28 2005)