Findings of a community screening programme for human cystic echinococcosis in a non-endemic area
Muigai, Anne WT
Fèvre, Eric M
Falzon, Laura C
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Cystic Echinococcosis (CE) is a zoonosis caused by infection with the larval stages of the taeniid cestodes of the species complex Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato. It is prevalent among transhumant communities in East Africa, including those residing in northern Kenya.The movement of livestock from these regions of high incidence to areas of low incidence creates an indirect risk of disease spill-over to humans. To assess possible establishment of the CE life cycle outside known endemic regions, we used a portable ultrasound scanner to screen for the presence of human CE in Bungoma County of western Kenya, an area which imports substantial numbers of cattle for slaughter from neighbouring pastoralist regions.Eight sentinel sites were purposively selected based on their proximity to slaughterhouses handling animals introduced from pastoralist regions, and necessary permissions to conduct the study were sought. Regression analyses were conducted to identify risk factors associated with the presence of abdominal and cystic lesions (CL). In total, 1002 participants were screened; of these, 654 (65.3%) were female and the median age was 43. Farming (n =403; 43.4%) was the most frequent occupation, followed by professional (i.e. on regular salary) (n = 215; 23.1%), and business (n = 207; 22.3%) categories. Sixty-seven participants(6.7%) had abnormal ultrasound findings, of these, 7 (1.1%) had simple liver cysts/CL, as per WHO classification. As such, their outcome was inconclusive and they were not put on treatment but advised to attend follow-up investigations in a referral health facility. Other abnormal findings included splenomegaly (n = 14), ovarian cysts (n = 14), uterine fibroids (n= 10), polycystic kidneys (n = 6), and benign prostatic hyperplasia (n = 6). Age was unconditionally associated with the presence of presumptive CL. These results contribute to CE baseline data while providing insights on the implementation of ultrasound diagnosis in the field, as recommended by the WHO for targeted control of echinococcosis by 2030.