article 10. 16
 

 

 

The Relationship Between the Health Profile of Waste Scavengers and Microbial Load Burden of Dumps in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

 

 

 

Wachukwu, C. K.

Department of Medical Laboratory Science,

Rivers State University of  Science and Technology,

Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

 

 Mbata, C. A.

Department of Medical Laboratory Science,

Rivers State University of  Science and Technology,

Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

 

 

Nyenke, C. U.

College of Health Science and Technology,

Port Harcourt.

 

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Abstract

The main objective of this study was to determine the health profile and impact assessment of waste scavengers (i.e. rag pickers) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.   To isolate and identify the potential pathogens that degrade the waste, samples were collected from 7 dumpsites and one control site (made of sand only).  Serial dilutions of the samples were carried out and aliquots (0.1ml) of the diluted samples were inoculated into appropriate media.  Similarly, blood, stool, urine and nasal swabs were collected from 80 waste scavengers and 20 control subjects.  The blood samples were used for the determination of haematological parameters and widal test, while urine, stool and nasal swabs were used for microbiological analysis. Five genera of bacteria were isolated from the waste dumpsites, which include Staphylococcus spp, Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus spp. while the control sites showed growth of Bacillus spp, only.  The culture result from waste scavengers also showed similar organisms, such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and Salmonella.spp.  There was significant decrease in the haemoglobin levels, haematocrit and Neutrophil counts of rag pickers as compared with the control subjects (P<0.05).  Mean values for waste scavenger were Hb 12.121.85g/dl, HCT 36.3316.7% and Neutrophil 33.3314.06%, while control subjects were Hb 14.4804g/dl, HCT 42.66 9.47% and Neutrophil 56.55 16.83%. Malaria and typhoid fever were high among the rag pickers.  The AST for waste scavengers was slightly increased, while the other LFT values were decreased compared to the control subjects.   It can be inferred that waste scavengers serve as carriers or vehicles for the transmission of certain pathogens that degrade waste, thereby, constituting some public health hazards. In addition, they are also exposed to infectious diseases

 

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