Free-roaming pigs feeding under latrines, China, 2016. © Anna Fahrion

Reliable, detailed epidemiological data on geographical distribution of T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis in people and pigs is scarce, but can be estimated based on reported human and porcine cysticercosis cases and known risk factors like water and sanitation indicators, and data on pig production, population and geographic conditions.

T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis mainly affects the health and livelihoods of subsistence farming communities in developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is common in areas where animal husbandry practices are such that pigs and cattle come into contact with human faeces. But imported taeniasis can also lead to cases in the population of countries where T. solium is not considered a public health problem.

Neurocysticercosis is the most frequent preventable cause of epilepsy worldwide, and is estimated to cause 30% of all epilepsy cases in countries where the parasite is endemic. The disease also burdens individuals and economies because of the impact of epilepsy on wages, health costs and social stigmatization of sufferers.

In 2015, the WHO Foodborne disease burden Epidemiology Reference Group identified T. solium as a leading cause of deaths from food-borne diseases, resulting in a considerable total of 2.8 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs).

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