Quantitative risk assessment of human Taenia solium exposure from consuming pork produced in Punjab, India.
Taenia solium cysticercosis is a neglected zoonosis that affects people throughout much of the developing world. The disease is endemic in Punjab state of India and controlling it is a public health challenge. No studies have been conducted to quantify the risk of T. solium exposure from consuming pork produced in the state. A stochastic quantitative risk assessment (QRA) model was constructed to understand the risk of human T. solium infection from consuming pork produced in Punjab. Input data were collected from official records, published literature, active surveillance and specifically for this study. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the influence of the input parameters on the main output probability that any one pork meal is infective (contains at least one viable cyst) at consumption. The probability of any pork meal in Punjab containing at least one viable T. solium cyst post-storage and post-cooking was median 5.57 × 10-4 (95% PI 1.06 × 10-4-1.95 × 10-3). Sobol' sensitivity analysis demonstrated that the most influential input parameters on consumption of a pork meal with at least one viable T. solium were the probability that a meal is insufficiently cooked to render cysts unviable, and the proportion of infected carcasses following informal slaughter. Whilst improved sanitation and hygiene can prevent cysticercosis in people, efforts to reduce the prevalence of T. solium cysts in pig carcases by preventing pigs' access to human waste, increasing meat inspection and promoting effective cooking practices are also important to reduce this source of taeniasis.