Low prevalence of cysticercosis and Trichinella infection in pigs in rural Cambodia

Cysticercosis and Trichinella spp. infection are parasitic zoonoses prevalent among pigs in Southeast Asia, where pork is the most important source of meat. In rural Cambodia, many pigs are raised extensively in family backyards, and information regarding the prevalence in rural small-scale pig production is very limited. This study was conducted in four provinces in north-eastern Cambodia to determine the seroprevalence of porcine cysticercosis and Trichinella spp. infection in rural villages, and to identify possible risk factors. Only households with less than 10 pigs above three months old were eligible. In total, 139 households participated, and 242 blood samples were collected. Farmers were interviewed about food and hygiene habits, disease knowledge and practices. The serum samples were analysed by ELISA to determine antigens to Taenia spp. cysticerci or antibodies to Trichinella spp. muscle larvae. Positivity among the pigs was 11.2% (95% CI 7.5–15.8) for Taenia spp. cysts and 2.5% (95% CI 0.9–5.4) for Trichinella spp. Cysticerci were more common in the province Preah Vihear (p < 0.001) than in the other provinces. Risk factors associated with porcine cysticercosis were management systems for the pigs and access to human faeces (p < 0.001). Trichinella spp. infection in pigs was more common in the province Ratanakiri (p = 0.001). The main risk factor associated with Trichinella spp. transmission was feeding pigs with food waste (p = 0.048). More men had heard about cysticercosis than women (p = 0.002), and men also consumed undercooked pork meat to a greater extent (p = 0.004). Although the present study is relatively small, several risk factors could be identified for porcine infection with Taenia spp. and Trichinella spp., which can be used to guide future interventions to improve both porcine and human health in these provinces.