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Nasal and Hand Carriage Rate of Staphylococcus aureus among Food Handlers Working in Jimma Town, Southwest Ethiopia

Getenet Beyene
Girma Mamo
Tesfaye Kassa
Getnet Tasew
Seid Tiku Mereta


BACKGROUND: Food handlers have been recognized to play a major role in the transmission of food borne diseases, contributing significantly to the global incidence and burden of the diseases. This study, therefore, aimed to assess the nasal and hand carriage of Staphylococcus aureus among food handlers in Jimma Town.
METHODS: A community based cross sectional study was conducted from February to May 2017. Swab specimens from nasopharyngeal and hands of food handlers working in food establishments were collected for isolation and identification of S. aureus using standard bacteriological methods. Antimicrobial susceptibility test was done using disc diffusion method. Associations of selected variables for S. aureus colonization were determined using SPSS version 20 with p ≤ 0.05 taken as statistically significant.
RESULTS: Among the 300 food handlers working in hotels and restaurants in Jimma Town, 86(28.7%) were colonized by S. aureus. The frequency of isolation of S. aureus from nose, hand and both parts (nose and hand) were 27(9%), 34(11.3%) and 25(8.3%), respectively. There was strong association (P=0.00336) between carriage rate of S. aureus and food handlers’ job category. The majority (90.7%) of the isolates were resistant to Penicillin and Ampicillin. Increased levels of sensitivity were observed against Ciprofloxacin (96.5%), Cefoxitin (95.3%) and Amoxicillin- Clavulanic Acid (94.2%).
CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed a high prevalence of S. aureus carriers among food handlers and high antibacterial resistance towards commonly prescribed drugs, justifying the screening of food handlers to detect and treat carriers and protect restaurant customers from staphylococcal food poisoning.