This study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, grant number NIH R01-NS080645 and the Fogarty International Center. IWP was supported by a Fulbright fellowship.
Parasites & Vectors
Taenia solium, Cysticercosis
Background: Taenia solium (cysticercosis) is a parasitic cestode that is endemic in rural populations where open defecation is common and free-roaming pigs have access to human feces. The purpose of this study was to examine the roaming patterns of free-range pigs, and identify areas where T. solium transmission could occur via contact with human feces. We did this by using GPS trackers to log the movement of 108 pigs in three villages of northern Peru. Pigs were tracked for approximately six days each and tracking was repeated in the rainy and dry seasons. Maps of pig ranges were analyzed for size, distance from home, land type and contact with human defecation sites, which were assessed in a community-wide defecation survey. Results: Consistent with prior GPS studies and spatial analyses, we found that the majority of pigs remained close to home during the tracking period and had contact with human feces in their home areas: pigs spent a median of 79% (IQR: 61–90%) of their active roaming time within 50 m of their homes and a median of 60% of their contact with open defecation within 100 m of home. Extended away-from-home roaming was predominately observed during the rainy season; overall, home range areas were 61% larger during the rainy season compared to the dry season (95% CI: 41–73%). Both home range size and contact with open defecation sites showed substantial variation between villages, and contact with open defecation sites was more frequent among pigs with larger home ranges and pigs living in higher density areas of their village. Conclusions: Our study builds upon prior work showing that pigs predominately roam and have contact with human feces within 50–100 m of the home, and that T. solium transmission is most likely to occur in these concentrated areas of contact. This finding, therefore, supports control strategies that target treatment resources to these areas of increased transmission. Our finding of a seasonal trend in roaming ranges may be useful for control programs relying on pig interventions, and in the field of transmission modeling, which require precise estimates of pig behavior and risk.
Locate the Document
Pray, I. W., Muro, C., Gamboa, R., Vilchez, P., Wakeland, W., Pan, W., ... & O’Neal, S. E. (2019). Seasonal patterns in risk factors for Taenia solium transmission: a GPS tracking study of pigs and open human defecation in northern Peru. Parasites & vectors, 12(1), 352.