Background. Taenia solium cysticercosis is a zoonotic disease that is endemic in many low- and middle-income countries where risk factors for disease transmission are present. The economic impact of cysticercosis on public health and on the pig production sector is not well known in many of those countries, including Burundi. This study aimed at estimating the burden of T. solium cysticercosis in Burundi including data on humans and pigs.
Methods. Epidemiological and economic data were collected from literature up to July 30, 2021 and governmental and non-governmental agencies. Direct and indirect costs for neurocysticercosis (NCC)-associated epilepsy and losses due to porcine cysticercosis were estimated to assess the economic burden, while the health burden was estimated using zoonotic disability-adjusted life years (zDALYs). Different probability distributions (Uniform, Beta, Dirichlet and Gamma) were applied depending on the type of epidemiological parameter. Monte Carlo simulations and 100,000 iterations were used to calculate the 95% uncertainty interval (UI) for each parameter and perform sensitivity analyses.
Results. In Burundi, 4.26 million USD (95% UI, 1,858,308–8,190,951) were estimated as economic impact due to T. solium cysticercosis in humans and pigs, of which 40.2% (95% UI, 10.3–75.1) of the total costs were due to NCC-associated epilepsy and 59.8% (95% UI, 24.9–89.7) of the losses due to porcine cysticercosis. The cost per NCC-associated epilepsy case was 72 USD (95% UI, 25–168), representing 30.8% of the GDP per capita in 2020. The probable incident cases and deaths for NCC-associated epilepsy were 9065 (95% UI, 2370–16,716) and 61 (95% UI, 16–114), respectively. More than 2 zDALYs (95% UI, 1.1–3.4) per thousand person-years was estimated, of which an average of 1.3 DALYs [0;0] (95% UI, 0.3–2.6) was due to NCC- associated epilepsy and 0.8 animal loss equivalents (ALEs) (95% UI, 0.3–1.5) due to porcine cysticercosis.
Conclusions. This study provides evidence of a significant burden of T. solium cysticercosis for Burundi’s population. We urge policy makers to use these evidence-based results and put T. solium cysticercosis on the public health agenda of the country. This study recommends urgent action to find solutions for integrated control strategies for T. solium cysticercosis in Burundi.