Contamination of commonly consumed raw vegetables with soil transmitted helminthes eggs in Mazandaran province, northern Iran

Shirzad Fallahi, Ali Rostami, Maryam Ebrahimi, Saeed Mehravar, Vahid Fallah Omrani, Hamed Behniafar


Soil-transmitted helminthes (STHs) infections are responsible for significant burden of morbidityand mortality worldwide. Consumption of raw vegetables without proper washing is one of themajor routes of such infections. We evaluate the prevalence of STH contamination in commonlyused vegetables in Mazandaran province, northern Iran. A total of 772 fresh raw vegetables wereobtained from retail markets. Each sample was divided into two groups. One group was used asthe unwashed sample and the second group was washed with standard washing procedures.Then, samples were examined for helminth eggs by using standard methods. Data analysis wasperformed using SPSS20. The overall prevalence of STHs was 14.89% (115/772). The rate ofSTH contamination was significantly higher in warm seasons (20.5%, 79/386) than in coldseasons (9.32%, 36/386) among the unwashed vegetables (OR= 2.50; CI 95%=1.64-3.8; P <0.001). No parasites were observed in standard washed samples (OR= 271.40; CI 95%=16.84-4373.64; P < 0.001). Prevalence of STH contamination was significantly higher in leafyvegetables than root vegetables (OR= 1.67; CI 95%=1.09-2.55; P < 0.05). The prevalence of STHsspecies in all the vegetables were as follows: Ascaris lumbricoides (3.36%), Trichuris trichiura(2.2%), hookworms (2.9%), Toxocara spp. (1.68%), Trichostrongylus spp. (1.55), Taenia sp.(0.9%) and Hymenolepis nana (2.2%). The results of the present study emphasized thatvegetables are potential risk factor for transmission of helminthes infection to human in NorthernIran. It is necessary that health authorities trained the consumers to proper and standard washingof vegetables before consumption.Keywords: Vegetables, Contamination, Soil-transmitted helminthes, Northern Iran

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