Occurrence of Parasites in Freshly Consumed Vegetables Sold at Minna Markets, Niger State, Nigeria


Vegetables constitute a crucial component of a healthful human diet, boasting a bounty of vitamins. Yet, the consumption of raw vegetables has been associated with the potential transmission of parasites. This research delved into the prevalence of parasites on five frequently ingested raw vegetables within Minna, Nigeria. A comprehensive assortment of 2500 samples encompassing lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and cabbage were procured from five distinct markets in Minna: Kure market, Bosso market, Maikunkele market, Maitunbi market, and Gwari market. These samples were meticulously scrutinized utilizing a concentration method to ascertain the existence of helminth and protozoan parasites. Among the 2500 samples investigated, 397 (15.88%) were found to harbor varying stages of parasites, including ova, cysts, eggs, or fully developed organisms. Notably, the utmost degree of parasitic contamination was detected in carrots, comprising 116 samples (29.22%), succeeded by tomatoes at 100 samples (25.19%), lettuce at 79 samples (19.90%), cabbage at 66 samples (16.63%), and the least contamination was observed in cucumbers, with 36 samples (9.07%). Among the surveyed markets, Gwari market recorded the highest prevalence at 88 cases (17.60%), while Bosso market exhibited the lowest prevalence at 54 cases (10.80%). Diverse parasitic stages were identified, with Schistosoma masoni being the most prevalent at 116 cases (29.22%), followed by Taenia eggs at 80 cases (20.15%), Schistosoma masoni cysts at 82 cases (20.06%), Schistosoma japonicum cysts at 35 cases (8.82%), Entamoeba histolytica cysts at 32 cases (8.06%), hookworm cysts at 26 cases (6.55%), and Ascaris lumbricoides at 26 cases (6.55%), respectively. These findings underscore the substantial contamination of commonly consumed raw vegetables in Minna with an array of parasites, thereby posing a noteworthy health hazard to consumers. Consequently, it is imperative for local health authorities to conduct public awareness campaigns regarding the risks associated with the consumption of inadequately washed and raw vegetables.

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