Occurrence of parasite eggs and oocysts in commonly consumed vegetables collected from selected markets in Zaria, Kaduna State Nigeria
A study was conducted with the objective of determining the occurrence of parasite eggs and oocysts in washed and unwashed vegetables sold in some selected markets in Zaria, Kaduna State. Cabbage (Brassica oleracea), Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), Carrot (Daucus carota) and Spinach (Spinacea oleracea) were collected based on convenient sampling from 5 markets. Three hundred grams of each vegetable was purchased every week in the morning hours from each of the selected markets during the rainy and dry seasons. Floatation technique was used for processing of the vegetable samples. Unwashed vegetables (269) had more parasite eggs and oocysts than washed vegetables (209). Spinach (52.50%) had the highest contamination, followed by carrot (48.75%), cabbage (42.50%), lettuce (40.0%) and tomatoes (28.75%). There was a significant (p < 0.05) association between the occurrence of parasite eggs and oocysts and the washing of vegetables. Among the unwashed vegetables, lettuce was highly contaminated (58.75%) with parasite eggs and oocysts, followed by spinach (55.0%), carrot (55.0%), tomatoes (50.0%) and cabbage (39.75%). There was, however, no significant (p > 0.05) association between the occurrence of parasite eggs and oocysts and the unwashed vegetables. Among the different markets, vegetables purchased from Dan Magaji market (51.25%) were highly contaminated, followed by Tudun Wada (49.38%), Sabongari (48.75%), Zaria city (48.75%) and Samaru market (41.88%).There was, however, no significant (p > 0.05) association between the occurrence of parasite eggs and oocysts on vegetables and the markets where the vegetables were purchased. The study showed that eggs and oocysts of various parasites mainly of human and animal faecal origin were present on vegetables marketed for human consumption even after washing. Therefore, people should properly wash their vegetables before consumption and indiscriminate defecation should be discouraged to prevent contamination and improve hygienic conditions.
Keywords: Eggs, Oocyst, Market, Parasite, Vegetable, Zaria