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Questionnaire Survey on the Occurrence of Risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection amongst Farmers in Thika District, Kenya

Edwin Ogendi, Naomi Maina, John Kagira, Maina Ngotho, Gabriel Mbugua, Simon Karanja
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 84, No 1 | a191 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v84i1.191 | © 2013 Edwin Ogendi, Naomi Maina, John Kagira, Maina Ngotho, Gabriel Mbugua, Simon Karanja | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 May 2012 | Published: 18 April 2013

About the author(s)

Edwin Ogendi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
Naomi Maina, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
John Kagira, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
Maina Ngotho, Institute of Primate Research, Kenya
Gabriel Mbugua, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya
Simon Karanja, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya


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Abstract

A survey was conducted to determine the occurrence of risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection amongst farmers in Thika District, Kenya. Interviews were conducted in a total of 385 households using a structured questionnaire. The water consumed at household level originated from taps (74.3%), rivers or streams (15.1%), wells (5.4%) and boreholes (5.2%). A number of households (46.8%) consumed water without boiling or applying any form of treatment. All respondents washed vegetables before cooking, whilst 99.0% washed fruits before eating. Boiled milk was preferred by 99.5% of the farmers. The majority (85.2%) consumed beef more often, whilst 1.6% consumed pork. The majority (98.7%) consumed thoroughly cooked meat. Meat was preserved by 17% of farmers. Only four farmers (1.2%) who practised mixed farming used gloves when handling livestock manure. Five farmers (1.6%) reported the occurrence of abortion in ruminants and pigs on their farms within the last two years before the study. Almost half (44.9%) of the households owned cats, which were kept mainly as pets (79.8%) and for deterring rodents (20.2%). The majority of households (91.3%) fed the cats on leftovers, whilst 8.1% fed cats with raw offal. Sixteen households (9.2%) provided housing for cats. Only five households (2.8%) had litter boxes, but none of the households with litter boxes used gloves when cleaning them out. Disposal of cat faeces was done mainly by women (55.5%). Only one farmer (0.3%) had some knowledge about toxoplasmosis, but was not aware of the transmission mechanism. The study highlights the need for public health education to raise awareness of risk factors for toxoplasmosis.


Keywords

Toxoplasmosis; zoonosis; transmission; risk factors; farmers; Thika; Kenya

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1. Detection of Natural Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Chicken in Thika Region of Kenya Using Nested Polymerase Chain Reaction
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