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Geohelminth contamination of some common fruits and vegetables in Enugu, south-east Nigeria

CI Eneaya
VS Njom


The degree of contamination by helminths of some common vegetable and fruits sold in markets in Enugu metropolis was assessed between January and April 2002. The vegetables and fruits were bought directly from the rural farmers and checked for helminthes and larvae by the formalin-ether concentration method. All the vegetables and fruits were found contaminated by helminth eggs of larvae or both, with the vegetables being more highly contaminated than the fruits (P<0.01). Talinum triangulare (water leaf) a low-growth vegetable frequently found growing wild around sewage systems recorded the highest contamination rate4 (25.7%) while the fruit Psidium guajava (guava) was the least contaminated (1.4%). Helminth eggs recovered were Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworms, Strongyloides stercoralis, and T richuris trichiura with Ascaris lumbricoides being the most frequently encountered (76.4%). The vegetables Amaranthus cruentus (“green”), Telferiria occidentalis (fluted pumpkin) and Solanum marcocarpon (garden egg leaves) are low-growth vegetables usually cultivated during the dry season on land fertilized animal dung and human excreta. Attention is drawn to contamination with Strongyloides strecoralis, which also naturally infects the dog and may be acquired as a zoonoic infection. The study re-emphasizes the need to compos human excreta and animal dung before hey can be used as manure. Thorough washing of vegetables is recommended prior to consumption.

The Nigerian Journal of Parasitology Vol. 24 2003: 123-128

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