Imported cysticercosis in Spain: A retrospective case series from the +REDIVI Collaborative Network

Travel Med Infect Dis. Sep-Oct 2020;37:101683. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101683. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Abstract

Background: Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is the most common parasitic neurological disease worldwide and a major cause of epilepsy. Spain is the country reporting the highest number of NCC imported cases in Europe.

Methodology: Retrospective case series of NCC patients registered in the +REDIVI Network from October 1, 2009 to July 2018. A specific questionnaire, including clinical and diagnostic characteristics, was created and sent to the collaborator centers.

Results: 46 cases were included in the analysis. 55% were male, mean age of 40 years. 95.6% were migrants. The median duration since migration from an endemic area was 10 years. Predominant nationalities were Ecuadorians (50%) and Bolivians (30.4%). Frequent locations were parenchymal (87%), subarachnoid (26.1%) and intraventricular cysts (10.9%). Serological analysis was performed in 91.3%, being 54.8% positive. Most prevalent clinical manifestations were persistent headache (60.9%), epilepsy (43.5%) and visual changes (13%). Patients were mainly treated with albendazole (76.1%), corticosteroids (67.4%), and anticonvulsionants (52.2%). 82.5% had a favorable clinical outcome.

Conclusions: Most NCC cases were long-standing migrants. Few clinical differences were observed depending on the cysticerci location. The treatment was often not according to current recommendations, and no uniform criteria were followed when it came to the therapeutic regimen. NCC case management in Spain (including clinician awareness and laboratory capacity improvements) needs to be strengthened.

Keywords: Cysticercosis; Imported infectious diseases; Neglected diseases; Spain; Taenia solium; Travel medicine.