The primary objectives of this first Action year are:

  • to create an operational, strong, extensive, multi-disciplinary scientific network on taeniosis/cysticercosis in the EU
  • to identify and prioritise clearly defined research gaps that need to be addressed in the first Action year
  • to initiate sustainable collaborations both within and between WG, ensuring that the identified problems will be handled in a most efficient way
  • to inform stakeholders on the launch of Action

Year 1 activities

In order to create a strong operational network, the Action will built on the work conducted by the currently existing cysticercosis working group EU (expert group that existed before the Action), which will be strengthened and extended, with special attention to gender balance and early stage researchers. A clear and transparent management/operational structure will be put in place by the constitution of a Management Committee. A Core Group will be formed, composed of the Chair and Vice-Chair and Working Group leaders. The COST Action will benefit from the work conducted by the cysticercosis working group EU and will aim at involving experts from several countries, also from eastern Europe, as well as research groups working on Taenia saginata. Each WG will carry out a detailed review on which (research) gaps that need to be addressed and how (and which information is needed from other WG). Based on this information, research priorities will be identified and a well defined working programme will be established, both between and within the WG. Sustainable collaborations will be initiated, helped by regular meetings, the Action website, as well as STSM and training schools.

A Core Group meeting at the beginning of the Action (January 2014); will ensure a quick start of the activities. A second core group meeting will be held in the second part of 2014 to discuss the results of the second WG meetings, to ensure/facilitate information exchange between the WGs and to prepare decisions to be taken by the MC in Year 2. Therefore, a preliminary activity planning for Year 2 will be prepared, including the organization of trainings, STSM and the first Action Conference.

MC Meetings

Following the 1st MC Meeting (“Kick-Off”), the Action MC will meet once during the first year of the Action. This second MC meeting will be held in May 2014, linked to (after) the first WG meetings. The MC meeting will primarily cover the evaluation of the reports of the first WG meetings and ensure the needed information exchange between the WGs. The progress made on the writing of common proposals for additional grants will also be discussed, as well as the dissemination of results so far produced by the action to the relevant stakeholders. MC members will be in regular online contact, via email, the Action website, or skype meetings.

WG Meetings

The WGs will meet twice during the first year. The first meetings will be linked to the 2nd MC meeting (May 2014) and the second ones with the Training School. The aim of the first WG meeting will be to determine detailed objectives for Action year 1 and objectives for year 2-4, as well as to plan the activities for year 1, including the identification of STSM, with a focus on early stage researchers.

The second WG meeting will take place in September 2014, linked to the Training School. In this meeting preliminary analyses will be discussed as well as the way forward in order to reach the objectives for Action year 1. Also, a work plan for Year 2 will be detailed, including requests for STMS (subjects and candidates) and Training Schools, to be presented to the MC. A follow up report will be drawn to present in the Core Group meeting.

Working Group 1: Epidemiology

It is essential that in this first year the raw data (on disease occurrence, risk factors, costs…) from all member states will be collected, and a system put in place to collect data from following years. One Training School will be organized to increase the capacity in epidemiological research in all member states. This specific training will focus on data collection and management.

Working Group 2: Diagnostic and (neuro)cysticercosis/taeniosis case research

A session will be organized on prioritization of diagnostic and control tools (which tools need to be developed the most urgently and where are we currently?). Presentations of activities of all members will help the identification of possible collaborations. Identification and analyses of the management of clinical cases (diagnosis/treatment) will be primarily done in this first year. The information available, mainly from endemic areas, needs to be reviewed critically for use within the European context.

Working Group 3: Control and prevention:

This first Action year will be used for an extensive review of all available tools and results of these tools, based on results of epidemiological research (risk factors etc) and diagnostic/control tool availability (and in collaboration with WG1 & 2). Substantial information will be obtained from research carried out in endemic areas, which needs to be evaluated/adapted to the European context. Also, this WG will have to extend the network to other research groups/ sectors, such as sanitation, social sciences, in order to create a multidisciplinary working group.

Year 1 specific objectives

Working Group 1

Overal objectives

The main objective of this WG is to characterise the epidemiology of Taenia spp. within and outside Europe.

Specific objectives will focus on:

  • Studying the transmission dynamics of Taenia spp.;
  • Assessing the economic and health burden of the parasites;
  • Assessing the economic and health burden of the parasites dynamics of Taenia spp.;
  • Proposing efficient taeniosis/cysticercosis surveillance systems

Year 1 specific objectives, activities and deliverables

  • Objective 1: Update the current knowledge on Taenia saginata and Taenia solium epidemiology in Europe
    • Activity 1.1: Summarize available published data (ECDC, EFSA, etc)
    • Deliverable 1.1: Summary of available data
    • Deliverable 1.2: Review paper about current situations and gaps
  • Objective 2: Summarize the local knowledge on Taenia saginata and Taenia solium epidemiology
    • Activity 2.1: Develop data collection tools
    • Deliverable 2.1: Data collection tools and checklists
    • Activity 2.2: Country survey through national epi working group responsibles
    • Deliverable 2.2: Summary of data received so far
  • End of year activity report WG1

Working Group 2

Overal objectives

The main objectives of this WG are to:

  • Define more harmonised NCC case management procedures (evidence based) and endorse a reporting system for NCC cases within the European Union;
  • Examine treatment failure for taeniosis;
  • Look into optimisation, large-scale validation, inter-laboratory ring-trials and commercialisation of existing (serological) diagnostic tests for Taenia spp. and tackle in an innovative way the problem of high cost and/or need for expensive laboratory equipment for most techniques, (which makes them non-applicable in endemic areas), in collaboration with private diagnostic companies;
  • Carry out fundamental analyses of the parasite (at the genomic, transcriptomic, and protein level). The latter holds prime opportunities for exchange of young researchers;
  • Look into optimisation of control tools (such as treatment of animal cysticercosis, treatment/vaccine development)

Year 1 specific objectives, activities and deliverables

  • Objective 1: Mapping/review of the landscape of laboratory tests in use in different European countries, incl reference samples
    • Activity 1.1: Questionnaire-based country survey on use of T/CC diagnostic tests (for human, pigs & cattle)/ facilities available  and its analysis
    • Deliverable 1.1: Pilot-tested questionnaire/ checklist
    • Activity 1.2.: Anaylse and describe the use of T/CC diagnostic tools/facilities (& gaps)
    • Deliverable 1.2.1: List of diagnostics performed (humans, cattle and pigs)
    • Deliverable 1.2.2: Review paper on current diagnostic tools used & gaps
    • Activity 1.3: Collect information on reference samples/biobank
    • Deliverable 1.3: List of reference samples from all participating countries
  • Objective 2: Mapping of the landscape of case detection and managment of people with (neuro)cysticercosis
    • Activity 2: Extensive literature and country procedure review on management of (neuro)cysticercosis and potential meta-analysis of the outcome
    • Deliverable 2.1: review publication
  • Objective 3: Overview on use of antihelminthics for T/CC?
    • Activity 3: Extensive review of pharmacy registers as appropriate
    • Deliverable 3.1: Report on anthelmintic use related to T/CC in the EU
  • End of year activity report WG2

Working Group 3

Overal objectives

The main objectives of this multidisciplinary WG are:

  • To identify the optimal control and prevention tools within and outside the European Union for both diseases with a focus on new, integrated, innovative systems;
  • To develop a harmonised reporting/surveillance system for cysticercosis/taeniosis within the European Union.

Year 1 specific objectives, activities and deliverables

  • Objective 1: Review the current strategy and approaches to prevention and control of  Taenia saginata and T. solium in Europe
    • Activity 1.1: Questionnaire-based country survey on current approaches to prevention and control of Taenia
    • Activity 1.2: Describe the current EU strategy for prevention and control of Taenia
    • Deliverable 1: Submitted review on current stategies and country approaches to prevention and control of Taenia
  • Objective 2: Build network of stakeholders involved Taenia prevention and control
    • Activity 2.1: Invite relevant stakeholders (e.g. EFSA representative) to COST meeting
    • Activity 2.2: Encourage stakeholders to become members of COST
    • Activity Actively seek to engage MDs involved in Taenia prevention and control
    • Deliverable 2: List of members of COST showing increase in number multidisciplinary scientists and stakeholders
  • Objective 3: Compile and prioritise a list of control and prevention tools
    • Activity 3.1: Prepare a list of evidense-based options for control and prevention
    • Activity 3.2: Rank the list of control and prevention options based on current knowledge
    • Deliverable 3: Inventory of prevention and control options for Taenia in Europe
  • End of year activity report WG3


Eight STSM will be organized during the first Action Year. The specific STSM (subject and candidates) will be discussed during the first Core Group meeting; and approved by the MC (online) and coordinated by the STSM coordinator.

Training School:

One Training School will be organized for WG1, on data collection and management, to ensure a correct collection of epidemiological information. This Training School will be held in Antwerp, Belgium.

Dissemination Meetings:

The Action and its preliminary results will be presented at the Neglected Zoonotic Disease 4th Conference at WHO in Geneva, Switzerland on 19- 20/11/2014.

Launch of the Action Website

The launch of the Action website is planned the latest on the 1st of June, 2014. The website will serve as a platform for information dissemination and exchange.