Diagnosis, treatment and control of Taenia solium cysticercosis

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Taenia solium taeniasis/cysticercosis is now recognized as a major public health problem in most developing countries because of its association with seizures. Major advances in the diagnosis and epidemiology of taeniasis/cysticercosis have occurred in recent years. However, despite abundant literature on the subject, many questions remain unanswered including the role of anti-parasitic therapy and the potential for long-term control or elimination of the disease in field conditions following active interventions.

Recent findings

Recent advances have included improved knowledge of the availability and optimization of diagnostic tools for the tapeworm stage, a better understanding of the meaning of antibody serology, the introduction of antigen detection assays, a consensus on the use of antiparasitic medication, awareness of inflammation and chronic scars around calcified cysts, population-based neuroimaging studies, application of control measures, and progress in the development of a pig vaccine.

Summary

Neurocysticercosis is now much better understood than it was a few years ago. Infection and disease are now classified in terms of parasite viability, resulting in multiple and diverse clinical entities, each of which has a proper prognosis and management. As a result of this, the interpretation of diagnostic assays and imaging examinations is much more coherent. New aspects of this interesting disease have been recognized, mainly in relation to the frequency of calcified neurocysticercosis and its potential association with symptomatic relapses. Consensus diagnostic and treatment schemes have been proposed, and promising alternatives for control are currently being tested in several countries.

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