WHO launches new tool to control pork tapeworm

Monday, December 4th, 2023 11:00 | By
WHO launces new tool to control pork tapeworm
Humans ingesting raw or undercooked pork containing the larvae may develop the disease known as taeniasis. PHOTO/Sky News

A new tool has been created by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to control tapeworm, especially the one transmitted to humans from pigs.

According to WHO, the control of the pig tapeworm ( Taenia solium) is relatively new, and many countries wanting to start control activities are requesting guidance and support.

To assist in these endeavours, the global health and its partners has developed a toolbox that contains basic information on control and management of T. solium.

The free, open-access platform, has all the relevant and up-to-date technical information. 

The target audiences are the T. solium focal points and programme managers, as well as any person interested in the control of the parasite.

Humans may develop intestinal infection with adult worms after ingestion of contaminated pork or may develop the disease after ingestion of eggs.

Humans ingesting raw or undercooked pork containing the larvae may develop the disease known as taeniasis.

According to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), typical symptoms of taeniasis, include mild stomach discomfort, nausea, diarrhoea, or hunger pains.

 In some instances, passage of tapeworm segments is seen.

The most visible symptom of taeniasis is the active passing of proglottids through the anus and in the faeces.

In Kenya, the disease is quite prevalent in areas where pigs are raised in free range systems

In a 2018 study in Kiambu County whose findings are published by the International Journal for Innovative Research and Development, 26 cases of the disease were identified among 386 persons tested in Thika Sub-County . This represented an overall prevalence rate of 6.74 per cent.

Available information on the WHO tool, includes the T. solium transmission cycle and key risk factors for transmission among others.

 Basic information on prevention, control measures, as well as its impact on human populations is also available.

Researchers and other stakeholder can also access T. solium mapping tools protocols and mapping steps as well as risk classification.

The tool also offers additional resources in form of questions to guide focus group discussions and key stakeholder surveys for the identification of endemic areas

Information on preventive chemotherapy for taeniasis as well as safety in administering medicines for neglected tropical diseases and special considerations in T. solium endemic areas is also accessible.

Equally, information on planning preventive chemotherapy, drug donation, annual work plan and micro-planning  as well as monitoring preventive chemotherapy coverage is available.

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