Seroprevalence of Cysticercosis in an Orthodox Jewish Community

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  • Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Infectious Diseases, Maimonides Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia
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Neurocysticercosis cases were identified in 1991 in an Orthodox Jewish community. Transmission was linked to tapeworm-infected immigrant housekeepers from countries where Taenia solium is endemic. To evaluate the extent of and risks for locally acquired cysticercosis, a seroprevalence survey was conducted in 9% of the households in this community. Cysticercosis antibodies were detected in 23 (1.3%) of 1,789 persons from 612 families. All 23 seropositive persons were asymptomatic, and no intracerebral lesions were found for the 21 seropositive persons who underwent brain imaging. Seropositivity was associated with female sex (relative risk [RR] = 2.45, P = 0.049), hiring a domestic worker for child care duties (RR = 3.79, P = 0.05), and with employees from Central America (RR = 2.70, P = 0.0001). Exposure to T. solium in this community is unexpectedly high. Widespread employment of domestic workers from endemic regions and high employee turnover contributes to exposure risk.