Taeniasis and cysticercosis in Asia: A review with emphasis on molecular approaches and local lifestyles.
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Taeniasis is an important parasitic condition in Asia, especially since all three human-infecting Taenia spp., Taenia solium, Taenia saginata, and Taenia asiatica are found in this region. These three species are believed to be sympatrically distributed, with the largest disease burden found in remote and rural areas where people raise pigs and cattle in a traditional manner. Recent studies revealed that T. asiatica and T. saginata are genetically-related sister species that are not completely reproductively isolated from each other. Current evidence indicates that most T. asiatica adult worms are hybrid-derived descendants. Moving forward, nuclear DNA analysis will be critical in further assessing the species circulating locally. Lifestyle choices, such as the consumption of undercooked meat, are important in maintaining the life cycles of these parasites. In addition, poor hygiene and sanitation, in highly endemic areas, make disease control difficult, resulting in the need for sustainable education programs. An overview of the present situation of taeniasis and cysticercosis in Asia is provided, followed by a discussion of molecular approaches to species assessment and the impact of human lifestyles on parasite transmission.