Background: Taeniasis caused by two major Taenia species, T. solium and T. saginata is a food borne zoonotic disease of man worldwide. Whereas T. solium is found in people habitual of eating raw or undercooked pork, while as T. saginata is the parasite of beef eating populations and the route of transmission is via consumption of undercooked or raw beef. The cattle rearing and beef consumption is an important socio-cultural feature in Kashmir valley, India. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the prevalence of food borne taeniasis in Kashmir and to explore the various risk factors for its transmission.
Methods & materials: A detailed survey of human population in some selected rural and semi-urban sites of Kashmir valley was carried out based on previous information. A total of 12,404 subjects (males = 6364; females = 6040) ranging from 1 to 85 years of age (mean age: 28.96 ± 17.68) were included in this study. The diagnosis of the parasite was made through stool analysis (egg morphology) and anatomical characteristics of gravid proglottids obtained from infected cases. The data obtained was compiled with respect to parameters studied and statistically analyzed.
Results: The observations as estimated coprologically and on the basis of anatomy of gravid proglottids revealed presence of T. saginata infection. The prevalence was 2.74% with males significantly (p < 0.01) more infected (3.40 %) than females (2.05%). Similarly, the age group of > 60 years showed greater prevalence (7.21% among males and 2.68% among females) at a significance value of p < 0.05. The rural population was slightly more infected (2.84%) than semi-urban populations (2.36%) with a statistically significant difference (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: Our findings indicate that Kashmiri population who consume raw or undercooked beef harbor T. saginata infection and its prevalence was influenced by food eating habit, age, sex and living conditions of the population.
Keywords: India; Kashmir valley; Taenia saginata; beef; food borne; prevalence; zoonosis.
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