The risk of intestinal parasitic infections in Kisii municipality, Kenya

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Nyarango, Morerwa Robert
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Risk is a probability of an adverse outcome or a factor that raises the probability of outcome Intestinal parasites usually inhabit the gastro-intestinal tract during part or the whole of their life cycle. In human beings, intestinal parasites are often associated with poor personal hygiene and environmental conditions such as contamination of soil and water sources with human faeces resulting from poor sewage disposal hence a major source of intestinal parasite transmission. The study was carried out between December 2006 and June 2007 in Kisii Municipality. The main objective of this study was to establish the risk of infections by intestinal parasites in Kisii Municipality. Random sampling using lottery method was used to select specimens for the study. Parasitological analysis of foodstuffs and stool samples was done at Kisii level -5 Hospital. The Parasitological profile of stool samples was done by direct saline smear and formalin-ethyl acetate sedimentation while for food stuffs concentration of the suspension was used. A light microscope was used for the examination of trophozoites, ova and cysts of intestinal parasites. Food handling practices were observed using a check list and recorded during each sampling day. A computer program (SPSS 11.5 for Windows) was used for data analysis. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to establish the relationship of various variables with intestinal parasites. The differences were considered to be statistically significant when the p-value obtained was less than 0.05. In all vegetables sampled, spider flower tested highly positive 17 (81.0%) for intestinal parasites while Kales tested least positive 11(52.4%). Out of 84 vegetables sampled 55(65.5%) were infested with intestinal parasites. There was a statistically significant difference observed between infestation rates of intestinal parasites and types of vegetables (x2 =179.12, df = 3 , p =0.000). The prevalence of intestinal parasites was significantly high in the meat samples stored in the open surface compared to those stored in the refrigerator (x2 = 37.628' df = 2, p=0.000). Additionally, high prevalence of intestinal parasites was observed in meat samples obtained from butcheries where the vendors served dual roles as cashier compared to the butcheries where there were vendors handling meat and cashier handling cash (x2 =65.737, df = 2, p=0.000). There was a significantly high prevalence of intestinal parasites on meat samples whose surfaces had houseflies (x2 =65.737, df = 2, P=0.000). Prevalence of intestinal parasites was high among food handlers of Kisii Municipality where out of 168 food handlers, 69 (41.1%) were infected with one or more intestinal parasites. Of the positive food handlers, 27 (13.1%) were infected with one species of protozoa while 37 (22.0%) were infected with one species of helminth and 5 (3.0%) had mixed infections. This study has shown that there were risks of acquiring intestinal parasitic infections from various sources with meat posing the highest risk of intestinal parasite transmission (75.9 %), followed by vegetables (65.5 %) and food handlers (41.1%) Out of 692 samples of various specimens examined 458 (66.2%) were infested with intestinal parasite, indicating a high overall risk of infections from various sources. The risk of infections by intestinal parasites from various sources indicated a statistically significant difference between various sources (x2 = 214.966, df = 2, p<0.00). The findings can be used to sensitize the public on the risk of acquiring intestinal parasites as a result of unhygienic food handling practices and can be adopted by municipal authorities to step up control measures for risk factors favouring intestinal parasitic infections.
Department of Zoological Sciences, 64p.The RC 119.7.N9 2008
Intestines--parasites--Kenya, Intestines--infections, Gastrointestinal system--diseases