Unorthodox ophthalmic preparations on the Ghanaian market: a potential risk for ocular and enteric infections

  • Samuel Kyei
  • Eric Dogbadze
  • Selassie Tagoh
  • Estele Mwanza
Keywords: Risk of infections; unorthodox medicine; ocular infection; corneal ulcers; fungal keratitis.


Purpose: Microbial contamination of orthodox ophthalmic preparations poses a serious threat to the user by causing ocular infections. There is no such information about unorthodox ophthalmic preparations in a medical pluralistic system such as Ghana. The aim of this study was to assess unorthodox ophthalmic medications on the Ghanaian market for possible microbial contaminations.

Methods: Unorthodox ophthalmic preparations were collected across different herbal and homeopathic outlets in Ghana. A total of 27 samples were collected from the ten (10) regions in Ghana. The samples were inoculated in different culture media (Plate count Agar, Blood Agar, MacConkey Agar, Saboraud Dextrose Agar). The microorganisms isolated were identified using standard microbiological procedures and antimicrobial susceptibility was done to determine whether they were resistant or sus- ceptible strains.

Results: All the samples were contaminated with bacteria and the majority were contaminated with fungus. A total of for- ty-eight bacteria spp. was isolated thus seven different types namely: Staphylococcus aureus, Bacilli spp., Serrati spp., Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas spp., Klebsiella spp. and Shigella spp. with Staphylococcus aureus being the predominant bacteria. For fungi, a total of elev- en fungi species thus four different types namely: Cephalosporium spp., Penicillium spp., Cercosporium spp. and Clasdosporium spp. with the predominant fungi being Penicillium spp. Per the class of preparations, 15 contaminants were isolated from ten (10) anti-in- flammatory preparations. The fungi were all susceptible to both Ketoconazole and Fluconazole but the bacteria were resistant to all the conventional antibiotics except Ciprofloxacin and Gentamycin.

Conclusion: Unorthodox ophthalmic preparations found on the Ghanaian market are contaminated with bacteria and fungi of clinical importance.

Keywords: Risk of infections; unorthodox medicine; ocular infection; corneal ulcers; fungal keratitis. 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905