New insights on the Taenia solium tapeworm using molecular tools: age-based human definitive host prevalence and deliberation on parasite life span.
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Information on age-based Taenia solium taeniasis prevalence is crucial for control of cysticercosis. T. solium taeniasis prevalence was determined for a village in Liangshan Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China that was co-endemic for T. solium, Taenia saginata asiatica, and Taenia saginata. Individuals who were Taenia egg-positive by stool microscopy and/or expelled tapeworms or proglottids post-treatment were diagnosed as having taeniasis. Infecting species was identified via multiplex PCR on tapeworm specimens or coproPCR followed by sequencing. In addition, initial stool samples from 10 children with taeniasis suspected of having spontaneous expulsion of tapeworms within the period between diagnosis and treatment were subject to species confirmation via coproPCR and sequencing. Of the 389 study subjects, 194 (49.9%) were diagnosed with taeniasis. Children (< 16years of age) had a higher T. solium taeniasis prevalence (8.8%) than older individuals (2.5%) (P=0.0127). Molecular analysis of initial stool samples from 7 of 10 children suspected of spontaneously passing tapeworms indicated 6 infections due to T. solium and 1 infection due to T. saginata. This study found that young children had a higher T. solium taeniasis prevalence than older individuals, providing additional support for the belief that adult T. solium likely has a relatively short lifespan compared to other Taenia species with human definitive hosts.