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Distribution dynamics of intestinal parasites on vegetables sold in Egah Market, Kogi State, Nigeria

O. Yahaya
H.G. Bishop
I.O. Umar
A.C. Enoch
D.A. Markus


For good human health, substantial amount of vegetables are required in diet. The vegetables must be of good quality, fresh and free from parasites and other pathogens. Consumption of contaminated vegetables can cause infections instead of promoting good health. It is essential that vegetable farmers, distributors, sellers at local markets and final consumers should ensure the safety of fresh vegetables. Aim: This study examined 105 vegetable samples by sedimentation method for intestinal parasites, which were sold in five selected locations within Egah Market, Kogi State, Nigeria. Methods: The samples comprised of cabbage (15), carrot (25), cucumber (25), pumpkin (20), and spinach (20). About 25g of each vegetable sample was weighed into 225mL of normal saline and washed gently using the hands with sterile gloves. The wash water was kept for 3-6 hr. to sediment, and the supernatant was discarded until about 15mL was left, which was transferred into a tube and centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 5 min. The final sediment was examined for parasite using the light compound microscope. Results: Seventy-nine (79) out of the 105 vegetable samples had parasites, giving an overall prevalence of 75.2%. Individual prevalence of different parasites identified were Ascaris lumbricoides 71(67.6%), hookworms 11(10.5%), Trichuris trichiura 10(9.5%), Schistosoma mansoni 5(4.8%), Strongyloides stercoralis 5(4.8%), and Entamoeba histolytica 4(3.8%). The order of parasitic contamination of the vegetable types was carrot 21(84.0%), cucumber 20(80.0%), spinach 15(75.0%), cabbage 11(73.3%) and pumpkin 12(60.0%). Schistosoma mansoni was significantly found in cabbage and pumpkin samples (P=0.015). There were highly significant occurrences of the parasites at wholesale points compared to retail points within Egah Market. Conclusion: The fresh vegetables sold within the market are unsafe if eaten raw, or in salad. Such vegetables will require proper washing with clean and germ-free water, peeling or cooking before consumption to avoid parasitic infections.