Control of taeniasis and cysticercosis in China
National surveys suggest that the prevalence of taeniasis has considerably decreased in China, while reported cases indicated T. solium cysticercosis was historically highly endemic in northeastern, central and southwestern China. The high prevalence of taeniasis and cysticercosis there was driven by socio-ecological determinants. Cysticercosis may occur in the central nervous system, spinal cord, subcutaneous muscle, eyes, heart and oral cavity. Neurocysticercosis, the clinically most important type, causes epilepsy, increased intracranial pressure and neuropsychiatric symptoms. New molecular diagnostic techniques have been introduced for high sensitivity and discrimination of Taenia species. Immunological methods remain useful in the diagnosis of cysticercosis, especially neurocysticercosis. The introduction of imaging techniques including computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging has significantly improved the diagnosis of neurocysticercosis. Recently, a combination of pumpkin seeds and areca nut has been explored against taeniasis, while praziquantel and albendazole are administrated simultaneously against cysticercosis, with promising efficacy and low side-effects. The widespread adoption of deworming protocols and techniques for inspection, management and treatment of pigs as well as improved sewage management has contributed to the significant decrease of taeniasis and cysticercosis in northern China. The positive results of these techniques should now be extended to highly endemic areas in western China to achieve the national elimination target for taeniasis and cysticercosis. Elimination of taeniasis and cysticercosis in China will not only benefit public health within China but also set an important example for less developed countries.