Salmonellae carrier status of food vendors in Kumasi, Ghana
AbstractObjective: To determine the prevalence of chronic typhoidal salmonellae amongst food vendors in Kumasi Ghana.
Design: A prospective study.
Setting: Sitting and itinerant food vendors in Kumasi.
Methods: Screening of 258 (230 females of 28 males) healthy food vendors for Salmonella typhi, and S. paratyphi A, B, and C, using stool culture, the widal test, and standard microbiological identification methods.
Main outcome measures: Prevalence of chronic typhoidal Salmonellae carriers among food vendors in Kumasi.
Results: Typhoidal Salmonellae were isolated from six people, giving a carriage rate of 2.3%. Three of the Salmonellae isolated were S. typhi, and they had significant Widal agglutinin titres of ³l/160 and ³1/320 for 0 and H antigens, respectively. The other three were non-typhoidal Salmonellae. The three had S. typhi and the other three had titres of 1/80 or less for both 0 and H antigens, respectively. We have discussed the implications of this high carriage rate, and we have suggested the inclusion of screening for Salmonellae of the regular health screening exercise undertaken by food handlers to detect and monitor chronic carriers in the food industry, to help control salmonella diseases in the community.
Conclusion: From our study, food handlers consitute a significant risk in the spread of enteric fever in Kumasi. We therefore, suggest the inclusion of screening for Salmonellae in the regular obligatory six-monthly examination required of food handlers and to monitor those found to be infected.
East African Medical Journal Vol.81(7) 2004: 358-361