Risk Factors of Porcine Cysticercosis in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa


There is a high prevalence of Taenia solium taeniosis/cysticercosis in humans and pigs in the Eastern Cape Province (ECP) of South Africa. The objective of this study was to identify risk factors of porcine cysticercosis in select districts of the ECP. Data were collected in 2003 by interviewing 217 pig producers from the area. Blood samples were collected from 261 of their pigs, which were tested using two enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) for the presence of antibodies to cysticercosis. Frequencies of both owner- and pig-level characteristics were determined. For pig-level analysis, all bivariable and multivariable associations were determined using the surveylogistic procedure of the SAS/STAT® software to accommodate for the intraclass correlation that exists for clusters of pigs within one owner and for clusters of owners within a district. All tests for significance were performed at the α = 0.05 level, and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were determined. Among the respondents, 48% of their households lacked a latrine, 98% slaughtered pigs at home, and 99% indicated that meat inspection services were not available. On bivariable analysis, there was a significant association between porcine infection and district (p = 0.003), breed (p = 0.041) and the absence of a latrine (p = 0.006). On multivariable analysis, the absence of a latrine was the only variable significantly associated with porcine infection (aOR = 1.89; 95% CI = 1.07, 3.35) (p = 0.028). The increased odds of porcine infection with households lacking a latrine contributes to our understanding of the transmission of this parasite in the ECP. Determining and addressing the risk factors for T. solium infection can potentially lower the very high prevalence in humans and pigs in this endemic area.