Geohelminth contamination of some common fruits and vegetables sold in Onitsha urban, south-east, Nigeria
The level of contamination by helminths of some common fruits and vegetables sold in Onitsha markets was assessed between February and May, 2008. Fruits and vegetables were bought directly from rural farmers between the hours of 07:00 and 09:00hrs. Separately, each fruit and about 200gram of each type of vegetable was carefully washed in 200ml of distilled water. Formol-ether concentration technique was employed to concentrate the parasites. Fruits examined include Carica papaya (pawpaw), Chrysophilum albidum (local apple), Psidium guajava (guava), Lycopersicum esculentum (tomato); while vegetables examined were Amaranthus cruentus (green), Telfaira occidentalis (fluted pumpkin), Talinium triangulare (water leaf) and Solanum macrocarpon (garden egg leaves). Encountered parasites include; Ascaris lumbricoides, Ancylostoma sp., Trichuris trichiura eggs and larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis (also dog parasite). Ascaris lumbricoides (66.1%) was mostly encountered. Vegetables haboured more parasites (86.2%) than fruits (13.8%) and the difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). Talinium triangulare (water leaf) recorded the highest contamination rate of 27.7% while the fruit Carica papaya (pawpaw) haboured no parasite. Entamoeba histolytica was common in all the samples. Thorough washing of all fruits and vegetables before consumption is recommended among others.
Key words: Geohelminths, contamination, fruits, vegetables