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Fruit and vegetable contamination with medically important helminths and protozoans in Tarcha town, Dawuro zone, South West Ethiopia

Authors Bekele F, Shumbej T

Received 13 February 2019

Accepted for publication 28 March 2019

Published 30 April 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 19—23


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Mario Rodriguez-Perez

Fitsum Bekele, Teha Shumbej

Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Wolkite University, Wolkite, Ethiopia

Background: Fresh vegetables supply the body with essential supplements. The consumption of raw vegetables and fruits are among the ways for transmission of intestinal parasitic organisms to human beings. This study was aimed at detecting the parasitic contamination in fresh vegetables sold at the central open-aired market of Tarcha town, Ethiopia.
Methods: A total of 270 fresh vegetables and fruit samples were collected from the main market of Tarcha town during August 1, 2017–August 22, 2017. The samples were microscopically examined for detection of medically important parasites after washing with 500 mL normal saline and 24-hr sedimentation of the washing solution followed by centrifuging at 2000 g for 5 mins. After centrifugation, the supernatant was decanted leaving the sediment. Finally, the sediment was examined under a light microscope for protozoans and helminths worms.
Results: Of the 270 fresh vegetable and fruit samples, 115 (42.6%) were found positive for intestinal parasites. A high level of contamination in fresh vegetable and fruit samples was recorded in cabbage 71.1% (32/45) while tomato was the least contaminated 24.4% (11/45). The identified medically important parasites were Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, Giardia intestinalis, Ascaris lumbricoides, Hymenolepis nana, Toxocara spp, Hymenolepis diminuta, and Cystoisospora belli. The most predominant parasite encountered was Ascaris lumbricoides (16.7%) whereas Cystoisospora belli (2.6%) the least detected. All of the vegetables and fruits that were contaminated were with more than one parasite species. A statistically significant association between the type of vegetables and the presence of parasites was also observed (p=0.002).
Conclusion: This study has shown that fruits and vegetables which are sold in the study area are highly contaminated with medically important parasites. Fruits and vegetables sold in the study area may play a role in the transmission of intestinal parasitic infections to humans. Effective and comprehensive prevention measures should be taken to ensure food safety. Relevant bodies should work on addressing the issue of high rate of vegetable and fruit contamination in the study area.

Keywords: Parasitic contamination, fruits, vegetables, Tarcha

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