Public health implications of waste handling and consumption of food sourced from vendors in urban communities of Lagos, Nigeria
Waste handlers and food vendors were screened for parasitic infections. 297(152 waste handlers and 145 food vendors) specimen obtained from the participants were examined for parasitic infections using Kato-Katz
technique. Questionnaires which probed into their knowledge of cause, signs and symptoms, predisposing factors to infection and level of hygienic practices were administered. The results showed an overall prevalence of
parasitic infection of 25.7% for waste handlers and 61.4% for food vendors. There was no significant difference in the prevalence rates of parasitic infections obtained for the two sexes among waste handlers (23.7% males,
27.6% females; P > 0.05). Similarly, there was no gender difference statistically among food vendors, though females had higher rates than the males (P > 0.05). Prevalence rates of parasitic infections observed among waste handlers were 15.8%, 5.3% and 1.3% for Ascaris lumbricoides, Hookworm and Trichuris trichiura respectively and; 28%, 27% and 6.2% respectively for food vendors showing higher levels of infections among the latter group. Light intensity of infection was obtained for each group, as shown by the mean geometric egg per gram per feaces (epg). The high prevalence of infection amongst food vendors as compared to the handlers can be attributed to poor sanitary conditions and poor knowledge on hygiene. There is therefore need for oversight by the food regulatory body to prevent the transmission among the food vendors and waste handlers.
Key words: Soil Transmitted Helminthes, waste handlers, food vendors, Knowledge Attitude and Practices.