Pork sold in Nairobi, neighbouring towns has harmful parasite - Study reveals

Pork sold in Nairobi, neighbouring towns has harmful parasite - Study reveals

One million residents of Nairobi and the surrounding areas are in danger of catching a parasite from unprocessed pork from Kiambu County.

A recent study by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute in collaboration with the University of Nairobi’s Department of Public Health indicated that over 1 million people living around Nairobi are at a potential risk.

According to the study, for every 100 pigs sampled by the researchers, about 34 of them had the harmful parasite called Toxoplasma Gondii.

 The study warns that this parasite is a public health risk with likely dire consequences, especially for people with compromised immune systems and expectant mothers.

“Pigs have evidence of infection with T. gondii and that small farm size and increased live weight are important risk factors,” read the report.

 According to scientists, the parasite can be transmitted to humans if they consume raw or undercooked pork, exposing them to potential infection.

Nonetheless, the research indicates that those with more robust immune systems are less susceptible to experiencing severe consequences from parasite infections.

“People with weakened immune systems will have serious health complications. These individuals include people with HIV and AIDS, cancer patients, diabetes, pregnant women, the elderly and the very young,” explained the study.

 The parasite may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, visual abnormalities, mental issues, and secondary respiratory infections, among other health problems. 

Recently the World Health Organisation launched a tool to control tapeworm, particularly the one transmitted to humans from pigs.

The WHO and its partners developed a toolbox that contains basic information on the control and management of pig tapeworms.

 The free, open-access platform, has all the relevant and up-to-date technical information.

According to WHO, the control of the pig tapeworm (Taenia solium) is relatively new, and many countries wanting to start control activities are requesting guidance and support.

In Kenya, the disease is quite prevalent in areas where pigs are raised in free-range systems.

A study conducted in 2018 in Kiambu County and published by the International Journal for Innovation Research and Development, indicates 26 out of 386 persons tested in Thika were diagnosed, indicating a prevalence rate of 6.74 per cent.

The report goes on to state that the demand for pork in Nairobi is growing despite the city's high risk of infection. According to estimates, Kenyans eat over 400 tonnes of pork annually, or 0.4 kilogrammes per person.


WHO Citizen Digital Citizen Tv pork parasite

Want to send us a story? SMS to 25170 or WhatsApp 0743570000 or Submit on Citizen Digital or email wananchi@royalmedia.co.ke

Leave a Comment


No comments yet.

latest stories