The larval stage of the pork tapeworm (Taenia solium) infects the human nervous system, causing neurocysticercosis. This disease is one of the main causes of epileptic seizures in many less developed countries and is also increasingly seen in more developed countries because of immigration from endemic areas. Little information is available on the natural evolution of taeniasis or cysticercosis. Available therapeutic measures include steroids, treatments for symptoms, surgery, and, more controversially, antiparasitic drugs to kill brain parasites. Efforts to control and eliminate this disease are underway through antiparasitic treatment of endemic populations, development of pig vaccines, and other measures.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This seminar is based on papers published in the past 15 years in English, Spanish, or Portuguese selected from MEDLINE by use of the PubMed system with keywords “cysticercosis”, “neurocysticercosis”, “ Taenia solium ”, “epilepsy”, and “seizures”. Older articles were selected from the private collections of the authors and the archives of the Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru. Conflict of interest statement We have no financial interests in any company or competitor company that makes the products mentioned in this seminar. Acknowledgments Our work is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA; the Office of Orphan Products Development, Food and Drug Administration, MD, USA, and the Wellcome Trust, London, UK. figure 3b, figure 6a and figure 6b were facilitated by the Department of Pathology of the Institute of Ciencias Neurologicas, Lima, Peru, and Hermes Escalante, ESCALABS, Trujillo, Peru. The sponsors had no role in the preparation of this review.