Improved diagnosis as an aid to better surveillance of Taenia solium cysticercosis, a potential public health threat to Papua New Guinea.P N G Med J. 1995 Dec; 38(4):287-94.PN
Taenia solium cysticercosis has been recognized as a public health problem in Indonesian Irian Jaya since its unfortunate introduction in a number of infected pigs imported from Bali. From its original point of introduction in 1971, the infection has spread from the Wissel Lakes area to other places within Irian Jaya. The present situation at the border between Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea (PNG) is difficult to assess accurately but, in light of the flow of refugees and the traditional rights of movement of people with their pigs in the border area, PNG populations are now at risk. Government health officers and veterinarians in PNG are well aware of this threat and have been watching closely for transmission of Taenia solium into PNG. A rigorous survey of Irianese refugees at the border and surrounding areas in PNG using recently developed immunodiagnostic procedures such as the EITB (enzyme immunoelectrotransfer blot) for detecting human and pig cysticercosis and the dipstick ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) for identifying T. solium carriers, coupled with careful assessment of medical history and clinical and stool examination, is, however, required. Such a study would allow evaluation of the prevalence of cysticercosis and taeniasis in Irian Jayan refugees residing in camps in PNG. The study would also determine the extent to which the parasite has spread easterly and, importantly, whether cysticercosis/taeniasis has crossed the border and is endemic in PNG, thereby constituting a potentially serious public health problem.