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Aflatoxin Levels in Locally Grown Maize from Makueni District, Kenya

JT Mwihia
M Straetmans
A Ibrahim
J Njau
O Muhenje
A Guracha
S Gikundi
D Mutonga
C Tetteh
S Likimani
RF Breiman
K Njenga
L Lewis


Objectives: Investigations were carried out to determine aflatoxin levels in household maize in Makueni District and to correlate aflatoxin levels to maize drying and storage practices. Also, aflatoxin exposure in villages that reported aflatoxicosis cases in 2005 was compared with that in villages that did not report cases to assess whether aflatoxin exposure levels could be used to identify high-risk villages for targeted prevention interventions. Design: A cross-sectional study. Setting: Three divisions of Makueni district, Kibwezi, Makindu and Mtito Andei in Eastern Province, Kenya. Subjects: Ninety six households were surveyed, and 104 maize samples were analysed for total aflatoxin levels from June to July 2005. The households were selected from high and low aflatoxicosis
risk areas. Results: Out of the 104 maize samples collected from 96 households, 37 (35.5%) had aflatoxin levels above the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended maximum limit of 20 ppb. All of these samples were homegrown or purchased. Twenty one samples (20.1%) had levels above 100 ppb. Eleven (10.6%) had extremely high levels above
1,000 ppb. No relief supply maize had aflatoxin levels above the WHO maximum limit.
Conclusion: High levels of aflatoxin in homegrown and purchased maize suggested that aflatoxin exposure was widespread.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 85 (7) 2008: pp. 311-317

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