Neurocysticercosis in travelers: A nation-wide study in Israel

Eyal Leshem, Iris Kliers, Mati Bakon, Moshe Gomori, Rebekah Karplus, Eli Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Cysticercosis, a human infestation by Taenia solium is endemic in many resource-limited countries. In developed countries it is mostly encountered among immigrant populations. Only few cases are reported in travelers. This report summarizes a nation-wide study of neurocysticercosis (NCC) diagnosed among Israeli travelers to endemic countries, with an estimation of disease incidence among the traveler population. Methods. We performed a retrospective, nation-wide survey of travel-related NCC in Israel between the years 1994 and 2009. Results. Nine cases of NCC were diagnosed in Israeli travelers during the study years. Most patients had traveled to South and/or Southeast Asia. The most common symptom at diagnosis was a seizure. The average interval between return from the suspected travel and symptom onset was 3.2 ± 1.8 years. Two patients suffered from multiple lesions, whereas the rest had a single lesion. Antihelminthic treatment was given to most patients with resolution of symptoms. Median duration of antiepileptic treatment was 16 ± 41 months after albendazole was given. Antiepileptic treatment was discontinued without any complications. The estimated attack rate of clinical disease was 1 : 275,000 per travel episode to an endemic region. Conclusions. NCC in travelers is a rare phenomenon commonly presenting as seizure disorder manifesting months to years post-travel. Antihelminthic therapy followed by 12 to 24 months of antiepileptic therapy resulted in complete resolution of symptoms in our patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2011

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