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extensive treatment shows interesting and far-reaching results




A three-year pilot project to combat tenia in Madagascar has shown very interesting and far-reaching results. Eligible adults and children aged five and over in 52 villages in Antanifotsy district1 were treated with praziquantel2 (at a dose of 10 mg / kg). The drug was well tolerated, and no major side effects were reported during the project.

“This is the first such project to combat tenia in Madagascar and we have achieved treatment coverage of as much as 95%.” said Dr. Sylvia Ramiandrasoa, who led the project. “The key factors that led to this achievement include a comprehensive social mobilization campaign that includes education and awareness of communication, and the proximity of community health workers to communities, resulting in high compliance with treatment. “

On average, over 73,000 people were treated each year for 3 years with a total of 221,308 treatments. Adults and children over 5 years old are included. The outcome was a significant reduction in the prevalence of teniase, observed four months after the last mass treatment of communities in the villages.

“Lessons from this important project and its impact go beyond Madagascar” said Dr. Bernadette Abela-Ridder, in charge of the WHO program of neglected zoonotic diseases. “They show that if we are treated with the right dose at regular intervals, few will become infected or develop neurocysticercosis. ”

However, this reduction could not be sustained, and sixteen months after the last treatment, taeniasis returned to its original level, but the outcome of the pilot project implies a “One Health” approach.3 is required to interrupt the infection cycle. This can effectively happen when regular treatment of people living in endemic areas is combined with vaccination and treatment of pigs.

People in one of the 52 villages in the Antanifotsy district of Madagascar waiting to be treated with praziquantel against teniasis during a pilot project that ran from 2015-2017.

Image: WHO / People in one of the 52 villages in Madagascar’s Antanifotsy district waiting to be treated with praziquantel against teniasis during a pilot project that ran from 2015 to 2017

The project, led by Madagascar’s Ministry of Health and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), began in 2015.

Taeniasis is prevalent in rural areas of Madagascar where people practice pig farming in the backyard. The parasite that causes taeniasis, T. tolium; it was first described in the early 1900s in Madagascar.

Taeniasis / cysticercosis

Taeniasis – an intestinal infection caused T. tolium tapeworm – occurs when people eat raw or undercooked, infected pork.

People who have guts in their gut will throw tapeworm eggs.


  1. A rural district of Madagascar and is considered 8th the largest, located about 112 kilometers from the capital Antananarivo.

  2. Praziquantel (PZQ) is a drug that the WHO recommends for the control and treatment of schistosomiasis (bilharzia). It forms part of a class of drugs known as anthelminthics. Studies have shown its potential as a very effective taeniacide.

  3. Animal, human, plant and environmental health are interrelated. One Health is an integrated approach that recognizes this fundamental relationship and ensures that professionals from multiple sectors work together to address health threats to animals, humans, plants and the environment “- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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