To Really Know the Disease: Creating a Participatory Community Education Workshop about Taenia solium Focused on Physical, Economic, and Epidemiologic Evidence

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The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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Cysticercosis, caused by Taenia solium, is a neglected disease that causes preventable epilepsy. We conducted an experiential learning workshop in northern Peru to educate community members on T. solium transmission and motivate participation in community-led prevention and control. The workshop included presentation of local economic and epidemiologic data, followed by hands-on participation in pig dissection, group discussion of the T. solium life cycle, and viewing of eggs and nascent tapeworms with light microscopes. Among heads of household, we used community survey data to compare knowledge of the three-stage parasite life cycle at baseline and 2 months postworkshop. Knowledge of the life cycle increased significantly after the workshop, with greater gains for workshop attendees than non-attendees. Prior knowledge and workshop attendance were significant predictors of postworkshop knowledge. The use of local evidence and experiential learning positively affected knowledge of T. solium transmission, laying the foundation for subsequent community-engaged control efforts.


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