Effective, Single-Dose Treatment of Procine Cysticercosis with Oxfendazole

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  • Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria, Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lima, Peru

The pig is a vital link in the transmission cycle of Taenia solium, the cestode responsible for human-porcine cysticercosis. Infected pigs also represent an important source of economic loss to farmers in developing countries. Past efforts to find an adequate therapeutic regimen to treat this parasitic disease in swine have failed because of low efficacy, high cost, side effects, or the need for multiple doses. In this randomized, no treatment-controlled study, the efficacy and safety of oxfendazole and praziquantel for the treatment of porcine cysticercosis were evaluated in 16 naturally infected pigs. Four groups of four pigs were treated with oxfendazole, praziquantel, oxfendazole plus praziquantel, or untreated. The pigs were humanely killed 12 weeks post-treatment, the number of cysts was counted, and parasite viability was assessed by cyst evagination. No detectable side effects were seen in any of the pigs. Praziquantel treatment alone appeared to reduce the number of cysts, but did not decrease the viability of the remaining parasites. Treatment with oxfendazole alone or oxfendazole plus praziquantel killed all of the parasites, and left only microcalcifications in the meat. Oxfendazole provides, for the first time, a practical, effective, inexpensive, and single-dose therapy for porcine cysticercosis.