Prevalence of intestinal and urinary parasites among food-handlers in Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria
Food-handlers have been tagged as potential carriers of infectious pathogens which included parasites. Parasitic diseases were some of the leading causes of global mortality, with higher burdens of prevalence in developing countries, especially regions of the world, characterized with contaminated water, coupled with poor personal hygiene and poor sanitary treatment of food by handlers. This study was therefore, designed to ascertain the public health safety of some food handlers within Ilishan-Remo, in Ogun State, Nigeria. Early morning stool and urine samples were collected from 30 food handlers for the detection of parasites. The stool samples were concentrated by formol-ether technique. Results of urine and stool microscopy from the cafeteria workers showed that 16 (53.3%) out of the food handlers harboured parasites of which 3 (10%) had Trichomonas vaginalis in their urine, 1(3.3%) recorded concomitant infection with Entamoeba histolytica, Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura, 5 (16.7%) had co-infection of A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura, 5(16.7) had hookworm infection only while 2 (6.7%) had E. histolytica in their stool samples. Neither adult microfilaria nor ova of schistosome was detected in the urine of the workers. Majority of the food-handlers relied solely on water from vendors at home, for domestic consumption. Also, the hygienic practices of the cafeteria workers were questionable as majority of them did not remember whether they washed their hands or not, after defaecation. Re-examination of stool and urine samples from the infected food handlers after treatment showed an effective therapy based on the absence of parasites from their specimens. Hence, it is recommended that there should be continuous and periodic enlightenment programmes on significance and practices of personal hygiene in order to reduce or prevent the occurrences of parasitic infections among foodhandlers.
Keywords: infectious pathogens, food-handlers, personal hygiene.