Prevalence of Pathogenic Organisms and Hygienic Practices at Public Toilets in Selected Low-Income Areas In Kumasi

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Public toilets in three low income communities within the Kumasi metropolis were sampled to determine the prevalence of pathogenic organisms and the varying hygienic practices by users and caretakers of the facilities. A total of 288 human excreta samples and 72 toilet cubicle wall swab samples were collected and analyzed for Salmonella, E. coli and Enterococci using standard methods. Observational studies and key informant interviews were also carried out. Mean Enterococci numbers (log10 per 100 ml) in human excreta samples were 4.15, 4.18 and 4.14 in Manhyia, Aboabo and Ayigya, respectively. Relative frequency of occurrence of pathogenic microorganisms in the excreta samples were 25, 29 and 22 for E. coli and 6.3, 10.4 and 9.4 for Salmonella at Manhyia, Aboabo and Ayigya, respectively. Microbial numbers (log10 per 100 ml) in the toilet cubicle swab samples were 3.19, 3.29 and 3.24 for Enterococci. Swab samples also 16.7%, 25% and 25% for E. coli at Manhyia, Aboabo and Ayigya. Salmonella isolates showed high resistance to tetracycline (68%) and ampicillin (64%). Standard of hygiene at all public toilets were very low with faecal matter and waste papers on toilet floors. Waste baskets had no cover and were hardly emptied causing overflow of waste papers. Resulting from poor management, most of the toilets had an obnoxious smell causing users to remove their clothes before accessing them. Hand washing materials were not available in Aboabo and Ayigya. KMA must implement proper planning and effective management of public toilets in order to protect public health in Kumasi.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Environmental Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, September-2012