OCCURRENCE OF PARASITES’ CYSTS, OOCYSTS AND EGGS ON BANK FACILITIES IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA. A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON BIOLOGY
Species of parasitic organisms whose cysts, oocysts and ova occurred on specific commercial banks’ facilities and intensities of contamination were evaluated via environmental parasitological assays in the three towns of Benue State, Northcentral Nigeria. Eighteen (18) of the common commercial banks (six per town) with wide branch network in the state, that consented, were selected on random ballot and screened for resistant stages of parasitic organisms on twelve facilities-door handles(inner and outer handles), automated teller machines (ATMs)(down and upper instruction knobs), computer accessories (keyboards and mouse), Currency (paper and polymer notes), counting machines (cash loader and cash receiver) and counter/slab surfaces(banking hall and bulk room). Sterile cotton swabs wetted with sterile normal saline were used to swab the surfaces of interest at the designated banks, preserved in refrigerated capped universal bottles containing 10ml each of normal saline and 4% formalin and thereafter subjected to both the centrifugal sedimentation and Zinc sulphate floatation techniques to isolate parasite stages. Of the 396 facilities screened, the cysts/oocysts of seven parasitic protozoans were isolated, including Entamoeba histolytica 251/396 (63.38%),
Cryptosporidium species 155/396 (39.14%), Entamoeba coli 44/396 (11.11%),Giardia intestinalis 33/396 (8.33%), Balantidium coli 9/396 (2.27%), Cyclosporaspecies 7/396 (1.77%) and Isospora species 2/396 (0.51%). Ova of eight species of parasitic helminths encountered on the screened facilities included those ofAscaris lumbricoides 106/396 (26.77%), Trichuris trichiura 15/396 (3.79%), hookworm 14/396 (3.54%), Taenia species 14/396 (3.54%), Dicrocoelium dendriticum 6/396 (1.52%), Capillaria species 3/396 (0.76%), Enterobius vermicularis 2/396 (0.51%), Toxocara canis 2/396 (0.51%). Up to 304 (76.80%) of the six bank facility types were positive with cysts/oocysts of at least three of the seven protozoan parasites while 138 (34.8%) of the facilities were positive with ova of at least four of the eight helminth parasites. The study established that bank facilities are repositories of resistant stages of important zoonotic human and veterinary parasites thus highlighting their potential roles as contaminative transmission sources and public health risks.