Prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides among food vendors on a university campus in Ghana
Intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs) constitute one of the major public health problems in developing countries and are transmitted in poor hygienic conditions. One of the modes of transmission of IPIs is through ingestion of contaminated food. Therefore, the high patronage of food outside the home in recent years, pose a threat to public health safety. In view of this, a study was undertaken to determine the types and prevalence of intestinal parasites among food vendors on the campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (K.N.U.S.T.), Kumasi. A total of 140 food vendors from five different food stalls on campus, namely: the University Hall, Africa Hall, Queens Hall, Republic Hall and the Biology Canteen, were examined for the presence of parasite eggs, cysts and larvae using the saline method and the formol-ether concentration technique. Questionnaires were used to collect demographic data from the food vendors. The study revealed significant burden (p<0.05) of gastrointestinal parasitic infections among the food vendors in the study area with seventeen different intestinal parasites, namely: Ascaris lumbricoides (37.1%), Hookworm (17.9%), Entamoeba coli (12.1%), Taenia sp. (11.4%), Fasciola hepatica (11.4%), Giardia duodenalis (10.7%), Entamoeba histolytica/dispar (7.1%), Iodamoeba butschlii (7.1%), Hymenolepis nana (6.4%), Schistosoma mansoni (6.4%), Balantidium coli (5.7%), Schistosoma haematobium (2.9%), Strongyloides stercoralis (2.9%), Fasciolopsis buski (2.1%), Diphylobothrium latum (1.4%), Trichostrongyle (1.4%) and Trichuris trichiura (0.7%). The study revealed majority (78.6%) of the food vendors had IPIs with a high prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides recorded, followed by Hookworm. Trichuris trichiura however, recorded the lowest prevalence. This raises the concern that, there is the need for the implementation of food handling policies and workshops to educate food vendors on the importance of personal and environmental hygiene and also deworming at least once in every three months.
Keywords: Food vendors, Intestinal parasites, K.N.U.S.T., Kumasi, Prevalence
The copyright of a submitted article is only transferred to the publishers if and when the article is accepted for publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publishers.