Following the Worms: Detection of Soil-Transmitted Helminth Eggs on Mothers' Hands and Household Produce in Rural Kenya.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.17-0072
Approximately one-quarter of the world's population is infected with at least one species of soil-transmitted helminth (STH). The role of produce and hands in STH transmission is not well understood. We collected and processed mother hand rinse and garden-grown produce rinse samples from 116 rural households in Kakamega, Kenya, in an area previously identified to have high STH egg contamination in household soil. Ascaris was the only STH species detected; 0.9% of hand rinse, 3.5% of leafy produce, and 1.8% of root produce samples had Ascaris eggs. Our results indicate produce and hands can carry Ascaris eggs. However, due to the low detected prevalence of eggs on hands and produce, and a high prevalence of cooking the produce items tested, these pathways might have a minor contribution to STH exposure in this setting.