Taenia solium cysticercosis hotspots surrounding tapeworm carriers: Clustering on human seroprevalence but not on seizures
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Background: Neurocysticercosis accounts for 30%-50% of all late-onset epilepsy in endemic countries. We assessed the clustering patterns of Taenia solium human cysticercosis seropositivity and seizures around tapeworm carriers in seven rural communities in Peru. Methodology: The presence of T. solium-specific antibodies was defined as one or more positive bands in the enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot (EITB). Neurocysticercosis-related seizures cases were diagnosed clinically and had positive neuroimaging or EITB. Principal Findings: Eleven tapeworm carriers were identified by stool microscopy. The seroprevalence of human cysticercosis was 24% (196/803). Seroprevalence was 21% > 50 m from a carrier and increased to 32% at 1-50 m (p = 0.047), and from that distance seroprevalence had another significant increase to 64% at the homes of carriers (p = 0.004). Seizure prevalence was 3.0% (25/837) but there were no differences between any pair of distance ranges (p = 0.629, Wald test 2 degrees of freedom). Conclusion/Significance: We observed a significant human cysticercosis seroprevalence gradient surrounding current tapeworm carriers, although cysticercosis-related seizures did not cluster around carriers. Due to differences in the timing of the two outcomes, seroprevalence may reflect recent T. solium exposure more accurately than seizure frequency.