Spatial distribution of Taenia solium exposure in humans and pigs in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Taenia solium, a pork-borne parasitic zoonosis, is the cause of taeniasis and cysticercosis in humans. In Vietnam, poor sanitation, the practice of outdoor defecation and consumption of raw/undercooked pork have been associated with infection/exposure to T. solium in both humans and pigs. The broad-scale geographic distribution of the prevalence of T. solium varies throughout the country with infection restricted to isolated foci in the north and a more sporadic geographic distribution in the Central Highlands and the south. While cross-sectional studies have allowed the broad-scale geographic distribution of T. solium to be described, details of the geographic distribution of T. solium at finer spatial scales have not been described in detail. This study provides a descriptive spatial analysis of T. solium exposure in humans and pigs and T. solium taeniasis in humans within individual households in village communities of Dak Lak in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
We used Ripley's K-function to describe spatial dependence in T. solium exposure positive and negative human and pig households and T. solium taeniasis exposure positive and negative households in villages within the districts of Buon Don, Krong Nang and M'Drak of Dak Lak province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The prevalence of exposure to T. solium in pigs in Dak Lak province was 9 (95% CI 5 to 17) cases per 1000 pigs at risk. The prevalence of exposure to the parasite in humans was somewhat higher at 5 (95% CI 3 to 8) cases per 100 individuals at risk. Spatial aggregations of T. solium exposure-positive pig and human households occurred in some, but not all of the villages in the three study districts. Human exposure-positive households were found to be aggregated within a distance of 200 to 300 m in villages in Krong Nang district compared with distances of up to 1500 m for pig exposure-positive households in villages in M'Drak district. Although this study demonstrated the aggregation of households in which either T. solium exposure- or taeniasis-positive individuals were present, we were unable to identify an association between the two due to the very low number of T. solium taeniasis-positive households.
Spatial aggregations of T. solium exposure-positive pig and human households occurred in some, but not all of the villages in the three study districts. We were unable to definitively identify reasons for these findings but speculate that they were due to a combination of demographic, anthropological and micro-environmental factors. To more definitively identify characteristics that increase cysticercosis risk we propose that cross-sectional studies similar in design to that described in this paper should be applied in other provinces of Vietnam.