A Study on Fast Food and Worm Infestation among Food Handlers in a Metropolitan City

P Praveena, L Kannan


Introduction: Parasitic infestation is a global public health issue, especially in developing countries like India. These diseases target a large group of population leading to malabsorption and fatal complications. Food handlers play an important role in cooking and distribution of foods to people. They are potential sources to transmit parasitic infestation to humans. The infestation in long term can predict the risk and progress of protein–energy malnutrition and iron deficiency anemia. Hence, in view of the above issues, the main objective of the study is to find out the level of addiction among food stackers of fast food and also to find out the prevalence of worm infestation among food handlers working in fast food. Materials and Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study was carried out from May 2018 to November 2019, to find out the prevalence of worm infestation among food handlers. Around 360 food handlers and 374 food stackers were covered in this study. Simple random sampling technique was used to select the centers. The food handlers were interviewed at one point of time. Initial face-to-face interview was performed and stool samples were collected from the food handlers and examined for intestinal infestation. The data was analyzed using SPSS version 20. Results: The prevalence of intestinal worm infestation was found to be 45.5% with 95% confidence interval of 39.6–49.87, the majority of them had protozoan infestation 83.8%. There was a significant contributing environmental factor with intestinal infestations among the food handlers. About 348 (93%) of food stackers regularly consumed food at fast foods on daily basis, either one meal for more than 6 months duration. Conclusion: This study confirms the determinant of intestinal parasitic infestation is not only limited to individual factors but also related to household and community. Control of parasitic infections is achieved by multisectoral approach- good sanitation, health education, and anti-parasitic treatment.

Key words: Food handlers, fast food addiction, parasitic infestation

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