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1.0 Introduction

Cysticercosis remains as important health problem in developing countries. Its transmission is related to soil contamination with human faces. This parasitism is found in African, Asian and Latin America, where the greatest incidences are seen in mexico and Brazil.

Human cysticercosis is acquired from the ingestion of ova of T. solium, excreted by human carries in their faces, followed by the development of cyst in human tissue. The risk of contamination with taenia ova is related to the contact with T. solium carriers. Recently, it has been shown that in humans, the most common route of infection is ingestion of T. solium eggs from contaminated food or water. In United States of American and Europe, the frequency of cysticercosis is increasing due to increasing immigration and more frequent travels to endemic regions. The infected individual becomes a carrier and source of infections by oral fecal contamination.

According to the world health organization (WHO), more than 2million people harbor the adult tapeworm and many more are infected with cysticerci (Garcia and Del brutto, 2000). These authors also indicated that neurocysticercosis is an important public health problem as it affects people of productive ages and causes an estimated 50,000 deaths every years and many times that number of patients are left with irreversible brain damage.

The disease also causes important economic losses in countries where it is endemic; more than 60millions dollars per year in Mexico only for contamination of parasitized carcasses (Fluzeby 1998). According to Zoli, et al., (2003), economic estimates indicate that the annuals losses due to porcine cysticercosis in 10 west and central African countries amount to about 25millions euros, among which 2million for Nigeria. Infected pigs and carcasses are sold cheaper in unofficial meat distribution channels in order to avoid losses from the contamination of infected carcasses (Pawlowski, 1990; Tsang and Wilson, 1995).

The cost of this parasitosis for humans is very high (treatment, hospitalization, loss of work days). In 1992, it was estimated at 195 million dollars in USA and 3700 dollars per cases in Mexico (Fluzeby, 1998). In addition, it also reduces the availability of proteins to human as a result of carcass contamination. The human population that is most exposed to the disease are those living in rural areas where sanitary condition are not the best. Djou (2001) quoted by Shey-njila, et al., (2003) reported that the cost of diagnosis, hospitalization and treatment of a human cysticercosis case in Cameroon is 170,000CFA (which is beyond the reach of most rural population.

The rapid expansion of pig farming and pork consumption is raising concern in Nigeria, as it is bound to exacerbate the problems related to T. solium cysticercosis, not only in rural areas where most pig are left, but also in urban areas where infected pork can  be consumed and human carries of the parasite can infect other people. Prevalence of human taeniasis has been reported in Nigeria at 8.6% (Onah, and Chiejina 1995) with 3.7% associated with epilepsy (Asana and Brandt, 2003). Although the recognition of its status as a serious and emerging threat to public health is increasing, the incidence data in humans are very limited owning to a lack of adequate surveillance, monitoring and reporting systems; consequently, epidemiological information is not extensive.



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