Falohun O.O, Adejinmi J.O., Odenibi B.S. and Obebe O.O.
Consumption of fresh vegetables is one of the major routes of transmission of intestinal parasites of public health importance which have been incriminated as one of the main causes of foodborne outbreaks. In an attempt to bridge the knowledge gap associated with the pre-harvest and post-harvest parasitic contamination of vegetables in Nigeria, this study was conducted to assess geohelminths and protozoa contamination of vegetables in farms and markets in Ibadan, southwest, Nigeria. Vegetable samples were screened using simple floatation and sedimentation methods for identification of geohelminths ova, larva and protozoan oocysts. Of the total 200 vegetable samples collected, 70 (35%) were positive for geohelminth and protozoan parasites. The results show that the highest level of contamination was detected in African spinach 20 (35.1%), followed by White jute 15 (45.5%), Waterleaf 14 (51.9%), Quill grass 12 (24.5%), Garden eggplant leaf 4 (57.1%), while the least number of contaminated samples was detected in Pepper 1 (%). However, Fluted pumpkin leaves and English Spinach had no parasitic contamination. Waterleaf 3 (11.11%), African spinach 2 (3.5%), Quill grass 2 (4.1%) and White jute 2 (6.1%) had mixed helminths and protozoa infections. Of the total intestinal parasites observed, Strongyloides stercoralis had the highest prevalence 67 (33.5%), followed by Entamoeba coli 27 (13.5%), Ascaris spp. 24 (12%), Trichuris spp. 10 (5%), Filiariform 9 (4.5%), Dicrocoelium spp. 9 (4.5%), Oesophagostomum dentatum 7 (3.5%), Fasciola spp 7 (3.5%), Entamoeba histolytica 6 (3%) while Eimeria spp 6 (3%) had the lowest prevalence. Most farmers 44 (80%) used stream and waste water as their source of irrigation while 11 (20%) of the farmers used well and stream. The relatively high rate of parasitic contamination observed in this study might be due to poor hygienic and sanitary handling of vegetables, poor transportation, packaging of vegetables and contaminated water used for irrigation and washing of vegetables in farms and markets. There is therefore a need for education of farmers and market women on proper handling and hygienic management of vegetables to safe guard the health of the populace.
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