Taeniasis and cysticercosis in housemaids working in affluent neighborhoods in Lima, Peru. Academic Article uri icon


  • Taenia solium taeniasis/cysticercosis is endemic in most developing countries, where it is an important cause of epileptic seizures and other neurologic symptoms. In industrialized countries, cysticercosis results from travel or immigration of tapeworm carriers from endemic areas. In both endemic and nonendemic countries, housemaids commonly immigrate from cysticercosis-endemic areas and can transmit the infection if they carry the adult tapeworm. Between July 2001 and July 2002, 1,178 housemaids (961 of them work in the top five most affluent districts of Lima, a metropolis of 8 million inhabitants considered nonendemic for cysticercosis) were evaluated for serum antibodies to Taenia solium and stool microscopy for taeniasis and cysticercosis. The serosurvey revealed a prevalence of cysticercosis-specific antibodies of 14.6% (95% CI: 12.6-16.6%), and stool microscopy detected 12 T. solium tapeworm carriers, for a prevalence of taeniasis of 1.2% (95% CI: 0.6-1.8%). A nonrandom sample of 26 seropositive housemaids was examined by brain CT and 50% of them had brain lesions compatible with neurocysticercosis, mainly calcifications. From the families who used a tapeworm-carrier housemaid, cysticercosis antibodies were detected in 6 (23%) of 26 persons who agreed to participate. One seropositive member of the employer families was symptomatic for seizures and had brain calcifications. The prevalence of tapeworm infections in this housemaid group is similar to levels in endemic areas, constituting a source of neurocysticercosis infection.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005