The pig is the natural intermediate host of Taenia solium, a parasite causing significant burden of disease in both humans and pigs. Porcine cysticercosis is traditionally detected via tongue palpation and slaughterhouse meat inspection, both with limited sensitivity. Serum antibody detection has a better performance; however, it does not discriminate past from present infection. Serum antigen detection can demonstrate viable infection and gives a good estimate of parasitic load. This study evaluated a sandwich antigen-detection ELISA using monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) 158C11 and 60H8 for the diagnosis of viable cysticercosis in pigs. Serum samples were used from 35 naturally T. solium cysticerci–infected pigs, 31 cysticercosis-negative pigs, and 22 pigs with Taenia hydatigena infection (to assess cross-reactions). Positive cysticercosis samples were subcategorized at necropsy according to parasitic burden as mild (1–10 viable cysts, n = 10), moderate (11–100 cysts, n = 5), or severe infection (more than 100 cysts, n = 20). This Ag-ELISA showed a sensitivity of 82.9% and a specificity of 96.8% when not considering cross-reactions with T. hydatigena. Hundred percentage of severely infected, 80% of moderately infected, and 50% of mildly T. solium–infected pigs tested positive. Twenty of 22 pigs with only T. hydatigena infections were positive, with 13 reaching saturating levels in the ELISA. The Ag-ELISA revealed the presence of live cysts and is, thus, a fairly reliable test to monitor experimental infection, response to treatment, and follow-up in animal models of cysticercosis. It should, however, be carefully interpreted when used in regions where T. hydatigena is endemic in pigs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support: Partial support from the Fogarty International Center/NIH Training grants D43TW001140, D43TW008273, and NIH-R01-AI116456 is acknowledged.
Copyright © 2019 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.