Korean J Parasitol.  2013 Feb;51(1):9-17. 10.3347/kjp.2013.51.1.9.

Human Taeniasis in the Republic of Korea: Hidden or Gone?

  • 1Department of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, and Institute of Endemic Diseases, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul 110-799, Korea. cjy@snu.ac.kr


History and current status of human taeniasis in the Republic of Korea, due to Taenia solium, Taenia asiatica, and Taenia saginata, are briefly reviewed. Until the 1980s, human taeniasis had been quite common in various localities of Korea. A study from 1924 reported 12.0% egg prevalence in fecal examinations. Thereafter, the prevalence of Taenia spp. ranged from 3% to 14% depending on the time and locality. Jeju-do, where pigs were reared in a conventional way, was the highest endemic area of taeniasis. An analysis of internal transcribed spacer 2 and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 genes of 68 taeniasis cases reported from 1935 to 2005 in Korea by a research group revealed the relative occurrence of the 3 Taenia spp. as follows: T. solium (4.4%), T. asiatica (75.0%), and T. saginata (20.6%). However, national surveys on intestinal helminths conducted every 5 years on randomly selected people revealed that the Taenia egg prevalence dropped from 1.9% in 1971 to 0.02% in 1997 and finally to 0.0% in 2004. With the exception of 3 egg-positive cases reported in 2008 and 2 worm-proven cases in 2011, no more cases have been officially recorded. Based on these surveys and also on other literature, it can be concluded that taeniasis has virtually disappeared from Korea, although a few sporadic cases may remain hidden. Human cysticercosis is also expected to disappear within a couple of decades in Korea.


Taenia asiatica; Taenia solium; Taenia saginata; taeniasis; prevalence
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