Neurocysticercosis in Western Europe: a re-emerging disease?

Acta Neurol Belg. 2012 Dec;112(4):335-43. doi: 10.1007/s13760-012-0068-3. Epub 2012 Apr 18.


The objective of the study was to estimate the magnitude of neurocysticercosis in Western Europe and to determine the pattern of disease expression in the region. Review of patients with neurocysticercosis diagnosed in Western Europe from 1970 to 2011. Abstracted data included: demographic profile, clinical manifestations, form of neurocysticercosis, and whether the disease occurred in immigrants, European international travelers, or Europeans who had never been abroad. A total of 779 patients were found. Of these, only 28 were diagnosed before 1985. Countries with more reported patients were Portugal (n = 384), Spain (n = 228), France (n = 80), The United Kingdom (n = 26), and Italy (n = 21). Information on citizenship status, clinical manifestations, and forms of the disease was available in only 30-40% of patients. Immigrants accounted for 53% of cases, European travelers for 8%, and non-traveler Europeans for 39%. Immigrants/European travelers were most often diagnosed during the new Millennium, presented most often with seizures, and had less frequently inactive (calcified) neurocysticercosis than non-traveler Europeans. The prevalence of neurocysticercosis in Western Europe may be on the rise. The pattern of disease expression is different among immigrants/European travelers than among non-traveler Europeans. It is possible that some patients had acquired the disease as the result of contact with Taenia solium carriers coming from endemic countries. Much remains to be learned on the prevalence of neurocysticercosis in this region.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Neurocysticercosis / diagnosis
  • Neurocysticercosis / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence