Survey of Intestinal Parasites Including Associated Risk Factors Among Food Vendors and Slaughterhouse Workers in Metro Manila, Philippines
Infections by intestinal parasites are considered as one of the major health concerns in developing countries afflicting different groups of people including food handlers and food vendors and are linked to poor personal hygiene and sanitation. This raises public health issues as food vendors and handlers may potentially become agents for the fecal-oral transmission of intestinal parasitic infections to consumers. This study focused on determining the prevalence of intestinal parasites among slaughter house workers and food vendors and examined their personal and food hygiene practices. A small-scale survey was conducted and selected a total of 91 slaughter house workers and food vendors from different areas in Metro Manila. Microscopic examination of
the fecal samples collected was done following standard procedures by the World Health Organization (WHO) thru direct smear, formalin-ethyl acetate sedimentation and staining methods. Participants were also interviewed on their food and personal hygiene practices using a questionnaire. The overall prevalence of parasitic infection was 90% with helminthic predominating protozoan infections. Eight (8) different intestinal parasites were identified: Entamoeba histolytica/Entamoeba dispar (15.6%), Balantidium coli (8.4%), Giardia lamblia (4.2%), Ascaris lumbricoides (30%), Trichuris trichiura (14.9%), Ancyclostoma duodenale/ Necator americanus (2.3%). Taenia spp. (2.4%), and Enterobius vermicularis (2.9%). Other amoeba-like protozoans (19.2%) were also observed suggestive of exposure to fecal materials. Based on the results obtained, there is high levels of parasitic infections among slaughter house workers and food vendors. Raising awareness on proper food handling, improved personal hygiene and sanitation is needed to prevent further transmission of parasites to the public.
Keywords: Food handlers, Food safety, Intestinal parasites, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Health.
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