Background: - Food borne diseases are a challenge for both developed and developing countries and are a leading cause of illnesses and deaths in developing countries. Regardless of concentrative hard work for several years, food borne diseases has remained a major global public health issue with substantial morbidity and mortality associated with the consumption of contaminated food staffs. Parasitic infection is among the major disease especially in developing countries and sub-Saharan countries including Ethiopia.
Objective: -This study was aimed to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasites and associated factors among food handlers working in food and drink establishments at Mizan Aman town southwest Ethiopia.
Method:- A community based cross sectional study design was employed. Four hundred eighteen study participants were randomly selected from a total of 209 foods and drinks establishment in Mizan Aman Town, Bench Maji Zone, and Southwest Ethiopia. Epidata version 3.1 used for data entry while SPSS version 21 used for analysis. Descriptive and logistic regression analysis carried out ; predictor variables at 95 % CI using p –value ≤0.05 were declared as statistically significant.
Result: Among 399 participants, 203(50.9%) were female and 194(49.1%) were male. Almost half 194 (48.6 %) of the participants age was below 20 years . The overall prevalence of intestinal parasites among the study subjects was 26.1% ; from this Ascaris lumbricoides 7.3% and Teniasis species 5% were the predominant parasites identified from the stool of study participants.
Conclusion: The study identified high prevalence of intestinal parasites among study participants who worked for less than one year duration , wear hand jewelry, not practice hand washing routinely, not wearing hair net, food preparation during sickness and use the same equipment for raw and cooked food serving. Training about safe food handling and other hygienic practices should be encouraged for better personal and community health status. On the other hand, all concerned should pay attention to safe guard consumers’ health. Key terms: - Intestinal parasites, Food handlers, Food and drink establishment