Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites in Vegetables Sold in Some Local Markets in Port-Harcourt, Rivers-State, Nigeria

Author(s): Kemajou S. Tchounga, Anslem O. Ajugwo, Margaret Nsa, Cyprian E. Oshoma, Kingsley E. Dunga, Herbert Ikenazo

A total of 492 vegetable leaves samples made up of cabbage (27), bitter leaves (50), garden egg leaves (44), green leaves (66), green onion (47), lettuce (51), pumpkin leaves (111), parsley (26) and water leaves (70), bought randomly from various local markets in Port-Harcourt was analyzed for the presence of some parasite stages. About 145(29.5%) out 492 samples examined were contaminated with various parasite stages. Green leaves had the highest level of contamination (40.9%), followed by bitter leaves (38.8%), while cabbage recorded the lowest (7.4%). Out of 202 parasite stages identified, the eggs of Ascaris lumbricoides were the most predominant 39 (19.3%), followed by the cysts of Entarmoeba histolytica 31 (15.3%), whereas the oocysts Cryptosporidium parvum and eggs of Strongyloides stercolaris had the least 4(1.9%). Green leaves and pumpkin leaves harboured 8 (80.0%) and 7(70%) respectively out of 10 different types of parasites obtained in this study; cabbage and parsley had only 3 (30.0%). Pumpkin leaves recorded the highest level eggs of Ascaris lumbricoides 18(30%), eggs of Fasciola species 10 (16.7%), cysts of Entamaeba histolytica 8 (50.0%), eggs of Giardia lambia 7(11.7%), whereas cabbage overall had the lowest percentage of parasites with Ancylostoma duodenale 2 (50.0%); eggs of Toxoplasma gondii 1 (25.0%) and eggs of Strongyloides stercolaris 1 (25.0%). The present study revealed the potential hazard of vegetable leaves sold in some local markets in Port – Harcourt. Though the vegetables are properly de-contaminated after sales at the point of preparation/cooking, it is also very necessary for the de-contamination to be done before sales. There is need for monitoring by educating both vendors and consumers on the good sanitary practices during processing displaying and sale of the vegetable products and possible danger of contaminated and spoiled vegetables.

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