Proposal of diagnostic criteria for human cysticercosis and neurocysticercosis

J Neurol Sci. 1996 Oct;142(1-2):1-6. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(96)00130-x.


Taenia solium cysticercosis is a major public health problem in several areas of the world. While the disease has a recognized etiologic agent, its definitive histological diagnosis is not possible in most cases because this parasite tends to lodge in cerebral tissues where routine biopsy is not feasible. Therefore, the diagnosis of human cysticercosis (and neurocysticercosis) should rest on the proper interpretation of the patients' symptoms together with data provided by radiological studies and immunologic tests for the detection of anticysticercal antibodies. Unfortunately, the pleomorphism of this parasitic disease creates confusion when non-specific clinical, radiological, or immunologic criteria alone are used to detect cases among populations or to diagnose hospitalized patients with neurological manifestations. We propose a chart of diagnostic criteria for human cysticercosis that objectively permit clinicians and health care workers to evaluate clinical, radiological, immunologic, and epidemiologic data of patients. The chart uses four degrees of criteria: absolute, major, minor, and epidemiologic, that were selected on the basis of their individual diagnostic strength. Interpretation of such criteria will result in three categories of diagnostic certainty: definitive, probable and possible, according to the likelihood that cysticercosis is present in a given person.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cysticercosis / complications
  • Cysticercosis / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / parasitology*