Faeco-oral parasitic infection in street food vendors in Tamale, Ghana
Poor environmental sanitation, personal and food hygiene practices of food vendors are major causes of street food contamination and outbreak of foodborne illness. The unregulated and rapid growth of the street food industry in the Tamale Metropolis with its associated health risk calls for strict public health surveillance to prevent the outbreak of foodborne diseases. Stool samples were collected from 150 street food vendors in the Tamale Metropolis in May 2015 and screened micro-scopically for gastro-intestinal parasites. 47(31.3%) food vendors were infected. Parasites identified and prevalence of infection were Giadia lamblia, 23 (16%), Entamoeba histolytiza 11(9.3%), Hyme-nolepis nana 5(3.3%) and Strongyloides stercoralis 8 (5.3%). The highest prevalence involved typi-cal faeco-oral parasites: Entamoeba histolytica and Giadia lamblia. Prevalence of parasite species in Tamale Central and Tamale South were not significant different. Multiple infection was signifi-cantly higher in Tamale South 5(6.7%) than Tamale Central 0(0.0%). Formal education, knowledge of food hygiene practices and medical screening (though poorly patronized) reduced infections among street food vendors. Intensified public health education on and enforcement of food hy-giene regulations are recommended to eradicate food contamination and infection.
Keywords: Street food, food contamination, food vendor, carrier, faeco-oral parasite