Wildlife Species as Potential Sources of Human Exposure to Parasitic Pathogens in Accra, Ghana
Handling and consumption of wildlife species pose risks of exposure to the infective stages of parasitic pathogens and disease transmission. This study assessed protozoan and helminth infections in some wildlife species commonly consumed as meat in Accra, Ghana. Using Zinc Sulphate centrifugal flotation and microscopic techniques, seven protozoan species (Entamoeba sp., Giardia sp., Iodamoeba sp., Cryptosporidium sp., Balantidium sp., Endolimax sp. and Eimeria sp.) and 11 genera of intestinal helminths including Haemonchus, Trichostrongylus, Ascaris, Monieza, Schistosoma and Trichuris were identified. Kruskal-Wallis tests showed significant difference in intensity of protozoan [χ2(3) = 11.59; p = 0.009] and helminth [χ2(3) = 31.41; p < 0.0001] infections among the four groups of wildlife species. For protozoans, the differences were observed between the mean cyst and oocyst (Cryptosporidium sp.) intensities of Maxwell’s Duiker and Bushbuck (U = 5, p = 0.006) as well as Grasscutter and Bushbuck (U = 3, p = 0.004). However, the differences in mean helminth egg intensities were observed between Grasscutter and Maxwell’s Duiker (U = 6, p < 0.0001), Grasscutter and Bushbuck (U = 16, p < 0.0001) as well as Grasscutter and Royal Antelope (U = 4, p < 0.0001). The results highlight the need for awareness of the risks of parasitic diseases as a prerequisite for their effective prevention.