12.2.4 Your role in controlling tapeworm infection
Ethiopia is a country with a lot of raw meat consumption and a high prevalence of tapeworm. Two rules must be enforced, and educating the community about them is an essential part of your role:
- Noone should offer any food for eating that is unsafe or unfit for human consumption.
- Meat for sale not bearing the stamp of approval of the public municipal slaughterhouse should be considered unsafe for human consumption.
Additionally there are measures that you can recommend in the community. Abstaining from eating raw or inadequately cooked meat is a good control measure. The Ethiopian dishes of kitfo or lebleb kitfo are not safe to eat. However, there are strong cultural reasons for this practice, so people may not take your advice.
The best control measure against meatborne zoonotic diseases is to cook the meat thoroughly before consumption. Exposing meat to a temperature above 56oC inactivates any cysticercus bovis (beef tapeworm cysts) present. Organised and strict meat inspection practices in abattoirs can ensure that meat is free from tapeworm infection as well as other meatborne diseases.
Finally, avoiding open defecation is a major control measure for zoonotic – and other – faeco-oral diseases.