Abstract

To determine the role of soils in dissemination of enteric protozoan cysts and intestinal eggs and/or larvae of helminths, a study was carried out on muddy soils around springs and wells of six districts in Yaounde, Cameroon from February to July 2015. Protozoan cysts and helminth eggs and larvae were observed microscopically after concentration by standard scientific methods. Flagellated enteric protozoa cysts were detected at an average density of 245 ± 145 cysts/L for Giardia intestinalis, 308 ±190 cysts/L for Chilomastix mesnili, 105 ± 106 cysts/L for Enteromonas hominis and 96 ± 118 cysts/L for Retortamonas intestinalis. Cyst densities were higher during the short rainy season (277 ± 119 cysts/L) than in the short dry season (147 ± 60 cysts/L). The helminths identified were Ascaris sp., Enterobius sp., Necator americanus and/or Ancylostoma duodenale, Strongyloides sp., Taenia sp., Hymenolepis sp., Diphyllobothrium sp. and Fasciola sp. Size varied between 40 μm and 200 μm for eggs and between 100 μm and 600 μm for the larvae assessed. Densities of environmental forms of the helminths were also higher during the short rainy season (176 ± 77 agents/L) than during the short dry season (117 ± 49 agents/L). These results show that muddy soils could contribute to the contamination of wells and springs and should be considered in epidemiological studies of intestinal parasites.

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