Abstract

Solid-waste management is associated with several health hazards, particularly parasitic infection. The objective of the study was to determine the association between risk factors and the occurrence of intestinal parasitic infections (potentially pathogenic) among municipal waste collectors in Alexandria, Egypt. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in the main municipality company in Alexandria. A total of 346 municipality solid-waste workers (MSWWs) was interviewed using an in-depth questionnaire. The type of parasitic infections among waste handlers was determined using formol–ether concentration and modified Ziehl–Neelsen technique. About half of the workers were infected with parasites. The profile of parasitic infection revealed 12 parasitic species. These were comprised of the following helminths: Schistosoma mansoni (13.3%), Enterobius vermicularis (1.7%), Ascaris lumbricoides (1.4%), and Hymenolepis nana ova (0.6%). Among protozoa were pathogenic Entamoeba histolytica (3.2%), Giardia intestinalis (2.9%), nonpathogenic protozoa such as Entamoeba coli (1.7%), and potentially pathogenic or opportunistic ones as Cryptosporidium (23.4%), Microsporidia (20.25%), Cyclospora (2.0%), Blastocystis hominis (1.7%), and Cystoisospora belli (1.2%). About 1.4% of MSWWs have pediculosis and phthiriasis in their scalp and eyelashes respectively. Risk factors for infection were associated with direct exposure to solid fecal waste (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8, confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–3.0) and occupational activities that allowed for direct exposure to solid fecal waste (OR = 2.3, CI = 1.4–4.0). Logistic regression model has revealed that educational level and residence were the factors that contribute to parasitic infection among MSWWs (P < 0.05). MSWWs are at high risk of acquiring parasitic infections. Data of the present study highlighted the need for greater biomonitoring of MSWWs and the improvement of environmental conditions and health care in such marginalized communities to prevent parasitic infection and associated morbidities.

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