Parasites Contamination of Salad Vegetables Sold in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Parasitic infections are of great public health importance because of their high prevalence and effects on both nutritional health and immune status of people living in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Five types of vegetable samples such as tomatoes, (Solanium iycapersicum), cucumber (Cucumis sativus), carrot (Daucus carota), cabbage (Brassica olerecea), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), were investigated for parasites using sedimentation and floatation methods. Out of 430 samples of the vegetables screened, 258(60%) were found to be contaminated with helminth ova/larvae and protozoan cysts. Ova/larvae of Ascaris lumbricoides 23(20.4%), Strongyloides stercoralis 32(28.3%, Trichuris trichuria 21(18.6%), hookworm 28(24.8%) and Fasciola species 6(5.3%) were identified. Strongyloides stercoralis and hookworm were the most encountered with prevalent rates of 28.3% and 24.8%, respectively, while the protozoan cysts recovered were those of Entamoeba histolytica 3(2.7%). Among the vegetables, lettuce 36(28.6%) was the most contaminated while cucumber 14(11.1%) had the least contamination. The results of this study implicated salad vegetables in the transmission of intestinal parasites. It is therefore imperative that the sanitary condition of these vegetables be improved from the producers down to the consumers.