The prevalence of Taenia saginata cysticercosis in the Matabeleland Provinces of Zimbabwe
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Records were collected for Taenia saginata cysticercosis infections in cattle slaughtered at the Cold Storage Company Abattoir in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, between January 2006 and December 2007. The cattle were drawn from the two Matabeleland provinces in the dry western and southern parts of the country. A total of 86,080 cattle were slaughtered during the period. The average prevalence of T. saginata cysticercosis was found to be 1.6 % (n = 1 364) with Matabeleland North having a higher prevalence of 2.8 % (n = 629) and Matabeleland South 1.2 % (n = 735). There were no significant seasonal differences (p > 0.05) in incidences of T. saginata cysticercosis during the study although numerically, the prevalence of T. saginata cysticercosis was higher in the wet season. There was no significant difference (p > 0.05) in the prevalence of T. saginata cysticercosis in different age classes of cattle slaughtered. Of the infected carcasses, a great proportion of these had live cysts (1.4 %) while few had dead cysts (0.2 %). Most of the cattle condemned were below the age of 2 years and some were full adults (p < 0.05). There was a significant association between farm type (p < 0.05) and prevalence of T. saginata cysticercosis with most infections being observed in the communal farming system. Though the prevalence of T. saginata cysticercosis appears to be low, there is a need to conscientize the farmers to avoid losses due to carcasses condemnation at slaughter houses which will have a negative financial impact to the individual farmer. There is also a need to investigate such cases even further to reduce zoonotic consequences due to the undetected cases in communal areas.