Background: Food handlers play a significant role in the transmission of foodborne infection. Salmonella and Shigella are the most common foodborne pathogens and their infections are a major public health problem of the globe. Thus, this study was aimed to determine the prevalence, antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, and associated factors of Salmonella and Shigella among food handlers.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted from March to August 2018 at Adigrat University student cafeteria, Northern Ethiopia. Data on socio-demographic and associated factors were collected using a structured questionnaire. Fresh stool samples were collected from 301 food handlers and transported to Adigrat University Microbiology Laboratory. Bacterial isolation and antimicrobial susceptibility test were performed using standard bacteriological methods. Data analysis was performed using SPSS version 22 and P < 0.05 with a corresponding 95% confidence interval was considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 301 food handlers were included in this study. The majority of study participants were females 265 (88.0 %). About 22 (7.3%) and 11 (3.7%) of food handlers were found to be positive for Salmonella and Shigella respectively. Hand washing after using a bathroom with water only, hand washing after using the bathroom, hand washing after touching dirty materials, hand washing before food handling and fingernails status were significant associated factors identified. None of the Salmonella and Shigella isolates was sensitive to ampicillin. On the other hand, low resistance was found for chloramphenicol, ceftriaxone, and ciprofloxacin.
Conclusion: The present study revealed that the prevalence of Salmonella and Shigella among food handlers found to be 22 (7.3%) and 11 (3.7%) respectively. Such colonized food handlers can contaminate food, drinks and could serve as a source of infection to consumers via the food chain. This indicates that the need for strengthened infection control measures to prevent Salmonella and Shigella transmission in the students’ cafeteria.