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Pig brain consumption habits and its potential for transmission of pork tapeworm to humans in porcine cysticercosis endemic areas

Author: 
Helena Aminiel Ngowi
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Porcine Taenia solium cysticercosis causes taeniasis in humans, the source of neurocysticercosis that causes life-threatening epileptic seizures. The current drug of choice cannot kill parasite larvae in the brain of pig. In addition, meat inspection in most countries does not include inspection of the brain. A questionnaire was administered to 74 smallholder pig farming households in porcine cysticercosis endemic villages of Mbulu district, northern Tanzania, to explore about pig brain consumption habits as compared to those of pork. While approximately 89.2% (95% CI: 79.8, 95.2; n = 74) of households consumed pork, only about 29.7% (95% CI: 18.9, 42.4; n = 64) admitted that they consumed pig brains. Nevertheless, 40.6% (95% CI: 28.5, 53.6; n = 64) of the households indicated that pig brains were consumed in the village. Males were approximately two times more likely to indicate that pig brains were consumed than females. While frying was the preferred method of cooking pork, boiling in water was the preferred method of cooking the brain. More studies are needed to ascertain local perceptions, adequacy of cooking methods in destroying T. solium larvae as well as the need for routine inspection of pig brains in porcine cysticercosis endemic areas.

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