Objectives –Taenia solium Cysticercosis is a leading cause of epilepsy and neurological disability in the developing world. It is caused by ingestion of the eggs of the tapeworm, T. solium Taeniasis. The prevalence of either T. solium Cysticercosis or T. solium Taeniasis in the United States in populations at risk is poorly understood. The primary objectives of this study are to perform the first study of the sero-prevalence of T. solium Cysticercosis and T. solium Taeniasis in an at-risk community in the USA, specifically rural Southern California; identify T. solium Taeniasis positive individuals, and treat positive individuals for the tapeworm T. solium Taeniasis.
Methods – Community based sero-prevalence study of antibodies to T. solium Cysticercosis and T. solium Taeniasis in 449 subjects living in a federally funded, predominantly Hispanic residential community; and in two migrant farm worker camps in rural Ventura County, California, USA. For this study, fingerstick blood samples were obtained. Serum immunoblots for both T. solium Cysticercosis and T. solium Taeniasis were performed.
Results – The sero-prevalence of T. solium Cysticercosis was 1.8% and the sero-prevalence of T. solium Taeniasis by serum immunoblot was 1.1%. Taenia solium Cysticercosis and T. solium Taeniasis antibodies were not detected in children. The sero-prevalence of T. solium Taeniasis was highest in the migrant farm worker community. Handwashing frequency was correlated with T. solium Taeniasis sero-positivity.
Conclusion – The sero-prevalence of T. solium Cysticercosis and T. solium Taeniasis in this population, as detected by serum immunoblot, approximates the prevalence in some endemic areas of Latin America. Importantly, most patients likely had prior exposure, not active infection. This study establishes for the first time, the relative sero-prevalence of T. solium Cysticercosis and T. solium Taeniasis in at-risk populations in the United States.