Parasitic contamination of fresh vegetables sold at central markets in Khartoum state, Sudan

Mona Ali Mohamed, Emmanuel Edwar Siddig, Arwa Hassan Elaagip, Ali Mahmoud Mohammed Edris, Awad Ahmed Nasr
Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2016 March 11, 15: 17

BACKGROUND: Fresh vegetables are considered as vital nutrients of a healthy diet as they supply the body with essential supplements. The consumption of raw vegetables is the main way for transmission of intestinal parasitic organisms. This study was aimed at detecting the parasitic contamination in fresh vegetables sold in two central open-aired markets in Khartoum state, Sudan.

METHODS: In this prospective cross-sectional study, a total of 260 fresh vegetable samples and 50 water samples used to sprinkle vegetable(s) were collected from two central open-aired markets (namely; Elshaabi and Central markets) during November 2011 to May 2012. The samples were microscopically examined for detection of parasitic life forms using standardized parasitological techniques for protozoans and helminthes worms.

RESULTS: Of the 260 fresh vegetable samples, 35 (13.5 %) were microscopically positive for intestinal parasites whereas 7/50 (14 %) of water samples used to sprinkle vegetable(s) were found positives. Remarkably, high level of contamination in fresh vegetable samples was recorded in lettuce (Lactuca sativa) 36.4 % (4/11) while cayenne pepper (Capsicum annuum) and cucumber (Cucumis sativus) were not contaminated. The identified protozoans and helminthes were Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, Entamoeba coli, Giardia lamblia, Ascaris lumbricoides, Strongyloides stercoralis, T. trichiura and hookworms. The most predominant parasite encountered was E. histolytica/dispar (42.9 %) whereas both T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides (2.9 %) were the least detected parasites. None of the fresh vegetables had single parasitic contamination. The highest percentages found in water samples used to sprinkle vegetable(s) was for Strongyloides larvae 60 % (3/5). It is worth-mentioned that the rate of contamination in Elshaabi market was higher compared with Central market. However, there was no significant correlation between the type of vegetables and existence of parasites in both markets and a high significant relationship was observed between the type of parasite and total prevalence in fresh vegetables (p = 0.000).

CONCLUSION: The study has identified a moderate rate of fresh vegetables contaminated with protozoan and helminthes. Contaminated fresh vegetables in central markets of Khartoum state may play a significant role in transmission of intestinal parasitic infections to humans, and the water used by greengrocers to sprinkle vegetable(s) can be implicated in vegetable contamination.

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