Economic impact of bovine cysticercosis and taeniosis caused by Taenia saginata in Belgium

Parasit Vectors. 2018 Apr 13;11(1):241. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-2804-x.


Background: Bovine cysticercosis (BCC) (due to Taenia saginata) is often claimed to cause considerable economic losses to the livestock industry, particularly in beef cattle, but recent studies estimating the economic impact are lacking. The current study aimed to quantify the annual economic impact of BCC in Belgium from 2012 to 2016, by gathering data from diverse sources in the meat and human health sectors.

Results: In Belgium, on average, 15 carcasses with generalised infections and 1168 carcasses with localised ones are detected upon meat inspection each year. The highest proportion of the total economic losses due to bovine cysticercosis were borne by the cattle owners with an average economic cost of €3,408,455/year: €2,954,061/year due to BCC insurance, €453,024/year due to value losses of beef of uninsured carcasses (i.e. freezing process) and €1370/year due to destruction costs of uninsured carcasses with generalised infections. The slaughterhouses suffered an economic impact of €210,806/year. They were responsible for inspection costs related to meat inspection in general, administration, processing and deboning of infected carcasses (€597,856/year), value losses (€34,848/year) and destruction costs (€105/year) of carcasses insured by the slaughterhouses (unofficial insurance) (5% of slaughtered animals). On the other hand, the slaughterhouses gained a total of €422,004/year due to unofficial insurance fees. Thirty percent of all slaughtered animals were officially insured against BCC and the insurance company generated an income of €2,322,337/year. The economic impact related to taeniosis (10,991 patients annually) amounted to a maximum of €795,858/year.

Conclusion: BCC and taeniosis due to T. saginata have a large economic impact in Belgium, mainly due to the insurance costs for BCC. These results indicate the need for reducing the number of BCC and taeniosis cases to avoid the costs and losses related to this parasite.

Keywords: Bovine cysticercosis; Economic impact; Taenia saginata.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abattoirs
  • Animals
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / economics*
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / parasitology
  • Cysticercosis / economics
  • Cysticercosis / epidemiology
  • Cysticercosis / veterinary*
  • Food Parasitology / economics
  • Male
  • Meat / parasitology
  • Prevalence
  • Red Meat / parasitology
  • Taenia saginata / isolation & purification*
  • Taeniasis / economics
  • Taeniasis / epidemiology
  • Taeniasis / parasitology
  • Taeniasis / veterinary*