Risk Factors Associated with the Occurrence of Porcine Cysticercosis in Kiambu, Kenya


Mwangi N. Samuel
Purity N. Nguhiu
Lucy W. Kabuage


Porcine cysticercosis is parasitic diseases of pigs caused by the larval stages of Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) and appears as cysts in the muscles, organs and central nervous system. Pigs acquire the infection by ingestion of contaminated feed and water with taenia eggs shed in faeces by infected humans. This condition leads to economic loss as infected carcasses are condemned at slaughter. Humans acquire the infection by consumption of infected and undercooked pig meat where the adult worm resides in the small intestines of infected humans (Taeniasis) and the larval stages are found in the muscles, brain and other tissues in humans with neurocysticercosis being of major public health concern. A study to evaluate the risk factors in pig production management systems that would contribute to the occurrence of porcine cysticercosis was carried out in four study sites in 2016. A total of 81 pig farms were visited, structured questionnaires were administered to the pig farmers to collect data on socio- demographic, water and sanitation, pig husbandry practices and awareness on porcine cysticercosis from one member of each household. Observations were made on the management systems especially feeding and housing of the pigs. In an earlier study, the prevalence of porcine cysticercosis had been estimated by lingual examination. Logic regression analysis was done to determine the relationships between porcine cysticercosis and management practices level. The pig stock sizes were ranging from 1 pig to 78 pigs and with an average of 11.12. Majority (97.5%) of pig farmers in the study area practiced zero grazing system. In order of preference, the farmers reported to feed their pigs on manufactured commercial feeds, home mixed feeds, swill from hotel and garbage, household left over, and fodder from garden. The main source of water for watering livestock was tapped water within the compound which was reported by 71.6% of the respondents. Other sources were wells and borehole reported by 27.2% and 1.2% of the respondents respectively. On animal health practices, 88.9% of the pig keepers de-wormed their pigs while 97.5% sought veterinary services. There were 69.1% of the respondents who reported that they usually buy replacement pigs. All the respondents kept pigs for commercial purposes. Porcine cysticercosis was significantly associated with sources of household income (p=0.033, the practices of feeding pig on home mixed feeds (p=0.006), neighbors' leftovers (p=0.001), and swill (P=0.001) and also frequency of de-worming pigs (p=0.027). The main risk factor for porcine cysticercosis was the feeding of uncooked swill (odd ratio=7.97). This study is significant in that it has documented for the first-time management risk factor associated with cysticercosis in the study area. The results of this study may be used to advice on improved pig husbandry practices and to design strategies for the control of Taenia solium taeniasis and cysticercosis in the study area.