Prevalence of intestinal parasites and bacteria among food handlers in a tertiary care hospital
Objectives: The aim of this work is to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites and bacteria among the food handlers.
Materials and Methods: Two hundred food-handlers were subjected to a cross-sectional study working in the kitchen of a tertiary care hospital, i.e., Alnoor Specialist Hospital, Makkah, Saudi Arabia from February 2 to 27, 2009. The stool samples were examined for intestinal parasites following direct microscopic examination, formol ether concentration (Ritchie), and staining with modified acid fast staining techniques. For enteropathogenic bacteria samples were inoculated onto MacConkey's agar, deoxycholate citrate agar, xylose lysine deoxycholate agar as per the World Health Organization protocol. Fingernail materials were examined microscopically for enteropathogenic bacteria and parasites.
Results: The majority (80%) of the food-handlers were young adults aged from 22 to 42 years. No intestinal parasites were detected from fingernail contents. Forty six (23%) stool specimens were positive for intestinal para¬sites. Giardia lamblia 18 (9%) was most frequent among the 10 different types of detected intestinal parasites followed by Entamoeba histolytica 9 (4.5%). No pathogenic bacteria were detected in all stool samples, whereas finger nails showed isolation of microorganisms as coagulase-negative staphylococci 79 (39.5%), followed by Staphylococcus aureus 35 (17.5%).
Conclusion: The findings emphasized the importance of food handlers as potential sources of infections and suggested health institutions for appropriate hygienic and sanitary control measures.
Key words: Entamoeba histolytica, food-handler, intestinal parasite, stool