Journal of Helminthology

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Research Article

Assessment of routine inspection methods for porcine cysticercosis in Zambian village pigs

I.K. Phiria1 c1, P. Dornya2a3, S. Gabriela1, A.L. Willingham IIIa4, C. Sikasungea1, S. Siziyaa5 and J. Vercruyssea3

a1 Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zambia, PO Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia

a2 Department of Animal Health, Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium

a3 Laboratory of Veterinary Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

a4 WHO/FAO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training for Emerging and other Parasitic Zoonoses, Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Dyrelægevej 100, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.

a5 Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, PO Box 32379, Lusaka, Zambia

Article author query

Phiri IK [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
Dorny P [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
Gabriel S [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
Willingham AL [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
Sikasunge C [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
Siziya S [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
Vercruysse J [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


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)


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