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EVALUATION OF A SELF-DETECTION TOOL FOR TAPEWORM CARRIERS FOR USE IN PUBLIC HEALTH

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  • 1 Dirección de Investigación, Hospital General “Dr. Manuel Gea González” SSA, México DF; Facultad de Medicina, UNAM, México DF; Jurisdicción Sanitaria VI, SSA, Irapuato, Guanajuato, México; Merck-México, México DF

The current study was designed to evaluate a tool for the self-identification of tapeworm carriers. Clinical and animal health care practitioners and schoolteachers were trained regarding the life cycle, risk factors, and control measures related to infection with Taenia solium. More than 120 small glass bottles with a few tapeworm segments fixed in formaldehyde and an instructional guide were distributed among all clinical practitioners (physicians and nurses) working in health centers. The guide contained 10 key points on how to ask questions about tapeworm infections. Information on taeniosis and cysticercosis was also provided to the general population via different media. Seven tapeworm carriers were recorded in the official epidemiology surveillance system the year previous to the study, compared with the year after the study, when 41 tapeworm carriers (37 Taenia saginata; 4 Taenia solium) were recorded. Six times more tapeworm carriers were notified after the study. All four persons with Taenia solium were treated, thereby eliminating the parasite and subsequently preventing any new cases of human and swine cysticercosis that might have arisen from them.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Ana Flisser, Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Medicina, UNAM, Ciudad Universitaria, México 04510 DF, Telephone: 5255-56232466, Fax: 5255-56232382, E-mail: flisser@servidor.unam.mx.
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