Infection of the brain with Taenia solium larvae (neurocysticercosis) is a leading cause of preventable epilepsy worldwide. Effective and sustainable strategies to control parasite transmission in rural endemic communities are needed to prevent the disease. Surveillance and targeted intervention around infected pigs (ring control strategy) have been shown to be effective when carried out by research teams. However, this strategy has not been implemented or tested as a community-based program. In this small trial in northern Peru, eight villages were randomly assigned to community-led surveillance and treatment (five villages, 997 residents) or control (three villages, 1,192 residents). In intervention villages, community-led surveillance and reporting were promoted by community health workers, radio advertisement, and school and household education. Each suspected pig infection was verified, with confirmed cases resulting in treatment with niclosamide for taeniasis and oxfendazole for pigs in clusters of homes nearby. No incentives beyond human and pig treatment were offered. Control villages received basic disease education but no treatment intervention in response to reports. Despite 14 case reports, community-based replication of ring control strategy did not replicate prior results. After 12 months, there was no change in seroincidence in intervention villages between the baseline and study end, and no difference compared with control villages. There was no difference in prevalence of taeniasis or porcine cysticercosis at study end. Community members described lack of knowledge as the main reason for not reporting infected pigs. Further exploration of methods to transfer ring strategy and other control interventions for cysticercosis to the community is needed.
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Financial support: This research was made possible with support from the UBS Optimus Foundation.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.