Many rural parts of the Eastern Cape record a high rate of neurocysticercosis disease, causing epilepsy in children and adults. In our One Health campaign, Vuyokazi Makapela, a director at Afrivet, joins us to talk about pigs and how neurocysticercosis can be prevented.
In the episode, Makapela describes the infection as a parasitic illness which is caused by larval cysts of the pig tapeworm. She goes on to explain the parasitic illness in detail and why it affects children primarily.
According to Makapela, the sickness is more likely to strike disadvantaged areas where pigs roam free and live in close proximity to humans.
“If a person accidentally ingests tapeworm eggs that are shared in human faeces, the larvae can migrate to the brain and form a cyst that may result in epilepsy,” she says.
It can take up to ten years before any symptoms of this illness manifests, she points out. This is also why it is difficult to assess the prevalence of the disease in a community of people as current infections will only show years later.
Scrutinise food preparation habits
In the episode, Makapela breaks down why many rural parts of the Eastern Cape, record a high rate of neurocysticercosis disease.
‘Many rural areas have very poor sanitation, unfortunately. But beyond sanitation, it is also food preparation habits; meat must be well cooked.”
Furthermore, one study showed that 60% of the cases diagnosed in human patients in the Eastern Cape Province are caused by neurocysticercosis.
Makapela believes that it is tough to confront this issue since so many rural homes keep pigs close to their owners.
In the podcast, Makapela also discusses:
- How infection can be prevented; and
- Tips to avoid spreading Neurocysticercosis; and more
On this episode, Lowe also elaborates on:
- Identification of plant-feeding aphids;
- How the virus could influence food production; and
- Risks farmers are exposed to.
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