Animal Diseases / ILRI / Kenya / Zoonotic Diseases

Pig farmers in western Kenya help control epilepsy

A recent article in The New York Times highlights the findings of a research project focused on improving pig production and health in western Kenya that the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) played a role in supporting. ILRI has been involved for several years in the efforts of the Cysticercosis Working Group of Central and Eastern Africa, a consortium of animal science and medical researchers, working to raise awareness about this zoonotic disease.

The project was carried out between 2007 and 2009 in a region where small-scale pig farming is an important source of livelihood. Among other objectives, the project investigated potential sources of pig feed, seasonal effects on feeding and feeding limitations and also assessed farmer knowledge on pig management, sow productivity and the pork tapeworm.

The article, in the April 19, 2010 online edition of the newspaper, says that pig farmers in western Kenya began tethering their pigs as a result of training conducted by the research team from the Universities of Nairobi and Guelph that educated them about how cysticercosis spreads and showed them how to identify infected meat, cook it to destroy worms, recognize tapeworm parts in stool and tether or confine pigs to keep them away from human waste. This disease from the pork tapeworm is one of the causes of epilepsy in people.

Read article (New York Times).

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