The presence of intestinal parasites in selected vegetables from open markets in south western Nigeria

D O Ogbolu, O A T Alli, V F Ogunleye, F F Olusoga-Ogbolu, Il Olaosun
African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 2009, 38 (4): 319-24
Intestinal parasitic infections are among the most common infection worldwide. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of food-borne illness linked to fresh vegetables which is a major way in the transmission of intestinal parasites. The study was carried out to determine the level of parasitological contamination of vegetables sold at selected markets in south western Nigeria. A total of 120 samples from different vegetables were randomly sampled from major selected open markets in 3 cities. The vegetables were analysed using macroscopic, sedimentation and magnesium sulphate floatation techniques. Eighty-two (68.3%) of the vegetables were positive for intestinal parasites from which water leaf (Talinium triangulare) and 'soko' (Celosis) recorded the highest (100%) parasitic contamination. Parasites detected were Ascaris lumbricoides (16.7%), hookworm (18.3%), Taenia spp (4.2%), Strongyloides stercoralis (45.8%), Balantidium coli (0.8%). Vegetables in each of these cities had almost the same high rate of parasitic contamination; Ibadan (70%), Ilorin (70%) and Lagos (65%). This study further emphasised the role of vegetables in the transmission of intestinal parasites in developing countries. Therefore, vegetable farmers should therefore be enlightened on the modern use of night soil as fertilizer and the treatment of irrigation water or municipal waste water before use. There is also dire need for the improvement of sanitary facilities in our markets and vegetable vendors should also be included in the screening of food handlers.

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