Screening municipal waste collectors for cystic echinococcosis and toxocariasis in southwestern Iran
Introduction: Cystic Echinococcosis (CE) and toxocariasis caused by the larval stages of intestinal dog worms including Echinococcus granulosus and Toxocara spp. are among the most widespread zoonotic diseases.
Methodology: Four hundred municipal waste collectors were serologically evaluated for CE and toxocariasis. To identify the seropositive cases of CE, an ELISA test was performed using native AgB. Toxocara IgG detection was carried out using ELISA DRG kit (USA), and the seropositive cases were then examined by a Western blot kit (LDBIO, France) to confirm the positive ELISA results.
Results: 15 (3.7%) workers were seropositive for CE according to the ELISA. A significant relationship was observed between being seropositive and having contact with soil and dogs. No significant correlations were observed between education and the prevalence of these diseases. Of the 15 seropositive workers for CE, ten worked in district 5 of Ahvaz. Toxocara IgG was identified in 11 (2.7%) cases using the ELISA; however, none of them were confirmed by Western blotting.
Conclusion: The 3.7% rate of seroprevalence for CE in asymptomatic municipal waste collectors living in urban regions of Ahvaz suggests a high rate. The higher rate of infection among workers in district 5 is likely associated with the presence of stray and owned dogs in that area of the city. A prolonged exposure to contaminated soil, the lack of awareness about the risk of diseases that can be transmitted through waste and the lack of general availability of suitable personal protective equipment for waste collectors might cause infectious diseases.
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