a1 Polyclinic for Medical Microbiology and Parasitology ‘Dr. Zora Profozic’, Bosutska 19, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
a2 Croatian National Institute of Public Health, Microbiology Service, Rockeferellova 7, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, while neurocysticercosis caused by Taenia solium infection of the central nervous system currently represents the leading cause of secondary epilepsy in Central and South America, East and South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of increased migration from these endemic regions, neurocysticercosis and subsequent epilepsy are becoming a growing public health problem in developed countries as well. In order to determine the prevalence of T. solium infection in patients with epilepsy in Croatia, a retrospective serological study was conducted. A total of 770 serum samples were tested for the presence of T. solium IgG antibodies using a commercial qualitative enzyme immunoassay. The Western blot technique was used as a confirmatory test for the diagnosis. The overall seroprevalence rate of T. solium infection in patients with clinically proven epilepsy was 1.5%. Although the results have shown that infection with this tapeworm is rare in Croatia, this study hopes to increase awareness about the importance of preventive measures and benefits of accurate and timely diagnosis. Intervention measures for infection control are crucial, namely sanitation improvement, control of domestic pig-breeding, detailed meat inspection, detection and treatment of tapeworm carriers, hand washing and health education.
(Received December 03 2010)
(Accepted April 18 2011)
(Online publication June 01 2011)