A multi-country research team set out to determine the distribution of Taenia saginata in the Americas in a recent study published in the journal, Parasites and Vectors.

T. saginata adult/CDC
T. saginata adult/CDC

Taenia saginata is a zoonotic tapeworm that is of economic importance in countries where cattle are kept.

Taeniosis causes only a few, if any, mild symptoms in humans, and bovine cysticercosis is usually asymptomatic.

Researchers undertook a systematic review of published and grey literature for information on the occurrence, prevalence, and geographical distribution of bovine cysticercosis and human taeniosis in the 54 countries and territories of the Americas between January 1st, 1990 and December 31st, 2017.

Data on bovine cysticercosis from OIE reports from 1994 to 2005 were also included.

They found Taenia saginata is widely distributed across 21 of the 54 countries in the Americas, but insufficient epidemiological data are available to estimate the subnational spatial distribution, prevalence, incidence and intensity of infections.

This needs to be addressed through active surveillance and disease detection programs. Such programs would improve the data quantity and quality, and may enable estimation of the economic burden due to bovine cysticercosis in the region in turn determining the requirement for and cost-effectiveness of control measures.