Salmonella carriage among food handlers and patients attending St. Joseph’s hospital, Jirapa, Upper West Region

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November, 2016
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Typhoid fever is ranked seventh (7th) among common infections affecting the people of Jirapa. However, the source of spread of the infections is not known. This study was conducted to determine if food vendor carriage constitute a major source of spread of the disease in the community. The study was conducted from January to May 2015. One hundred and seventy (170) stool samples obtained from asymptomatic food handlers were tested for Salmonella. 182 stool and 112 blood samples were collected from patients and tested for Salmonella. Salmonella was recovered from 4.1% (7/170) food handlers and 10.4% (31/294) of patients. Stool samples yielded more Salmonella isolates 12.1% (22/182) than blood samples 7.1% (8/112). Among the Salmonella isolates obtained from food handlers, Salmonella Typhi accounted for 71.4% (5/7) whereas 28.6% (2/7) were other Salmonella species. There were 31 Salmonella isolates obtained from patients. Of the 31, Salmonella Typhi recorded 9 (29.0%) and Salmonella species recorded 22 (71.0%). There was a total of 38 Salmonellae isolated from the study group. Abdominal pains, headache and diarrhea were the common complaints presented by patients. Most Salmonella isolates showed high resistant pattern towards the common antimicrobials used including ampicillin, tetracycline and chloramphenicol. All the Salmonella isolates were however, susceptible to ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, cefotaxime and ceftaxidime. Salmonella isolates were tested for ESBL and they were all not ESBL producers. About 4.1% of food handlers in Jirapa were carriers of Salmonellae. These food handlers constitute a potential source for the transmission of the Salmonella pathogen, and may account for one of the reasons for the high cases of Salmonella infections in Jirapa.
A thesis submitted to the Department of clinical microbiology, school of medical sciences, Kwame nkrumah university of Science & Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the degree of Master of Science (M.SC.) in Clinical Microbiology.