For several years, food borne diseases remain a major global public health issue with substantial morbidity and mortality associated with the consumption of contaminated food staffs (,). According to WHO, food handling personnel play significant role in ensuring food safety throughout the chain of food production. Therefore, to reduce food borne illnesses, it is crucial to raise the knowledge and quality of practices of food handlers. However, several factors contribute to the spread of food borne outbreaks by food service workers .Parasite is an organism that is entirely dependent on another organism, referred to as its host, for all or part of its life cycle and metabolic requirements.
Parasitic infection is among the major disease in the world especially developing countries and sub-Saharan countries . According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimation, 3.5 billion people worldwide were infected with intestinal parasites and nearly greater than 450 million of them developed disease due to intestinal parasites, the majority were children . Many studies reported the presence of relatively high prevalence rates of major protozoan and helminthes infections in tropical countries, where parasitic diseases remain among the heaviest and serious health problems , .
The cause for high distribution of parasites were reported as a result of specific climate of the regions, local customs, age, job, educational level of people ,attitude of peoples on parasitic infection and the use of human and animal fertilizers in agriculture and floriculture . Due to geographical location, climate, and cultural and biological characteristics, there is a suitable atmosphere for the parasitic infestations in Ethiopia .The absence of clean and safe water, high population density, lack of proper disposal of waste, noncompliance with health standards, lack of adequate washing of vegetables, lack of washing hands before and after toilet and feeding of uncooked meat and drinking un boiled(non- pasteurized) milk lead to high prevalence of intestinal parasites. Moreover, where poor environmental sanitation, poor personal hygiene and low level of education were among the reasons .As study reports, there was different types of parasites and different level of infection in different parts of Ethiopia., .Ethiopian ministry of health prioritized parasitic disease as neglected tropical disease (NTDS) . Some of negative consequences of parasitic infections reported were malnutrition, stunted growth, anemia and cognitive impairment (17). Food-handlers working in restaurants, and cafeteria harbor and excrete intestinal parasites that may contaminate food and serve as source of food-borne infections .
To prevent, food borne illnesses, all food handlers are required to practice food hygiene and safety activities. Food hygiene is the set of basic principles employed in the systematic control of the environmental conditions during production, packaging, delivery/transportation, storage, processing, and preparation, selling and serving of food in such a manner as to ensure that food is safe to consume. However, inappropriate and inconsistent food hygiene and safety activities can cause a health threat in developing countries due to difficulties in securing optimal hygienic food handling practices , .
Globally 819 million people were infected with Ascaris lumbricoides (A. lumbricoides), 464.6 million people were infected with Trichuris trichiura ,438.9 million people were infected with hookworm,500 million people were infected with Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica) and 2.8 million people were infected with Giardia lamblia.
Parasitic diseases which are one of major diseases in the world especially in developing countries . Many studies discovered that parasitic infections cause so many diseases .They cause mental retardation, abdominal cramp, nausea, bloating, anorexia, anemia, stunt growth, malnutrion and diminished work capacity (17). As WHO report, about one third population in developed countries were infected by intestinal parasites whereas report for developing country indicates five times higher than developed countries . In developing countries, up to 70% of cases of diarrheal disease are associated with the consumption of contaminated food. On the other hand, the growth of urbanization and transportation increased the number of peoples who use hotels and cafeterias for feeding and drinking services .
Because of food prepared in large quantities is more likely to be contaminated, there is a greater potential for the occurrence of food borne disease outbreaks if basic sanitary practices are not maintained.Ethiopia is one of developing countries whose majority of population is affected by intestinal parasites , .
Food handlers play a great role in communication of parasitic infection . In developing countries as Ethiopia food handlers are hired without any screening for intestinal infections.
Asymptomatic patients with parasitic infections were considered to be hazardous to the society because such food handlers routinely exercise their jobs without giving due attention for the transmission of infections. As a result, intestinal parasites can be transmitted to consumers directly or indirectly through food, water, and fingers from food handlers.
Studies showed that, the prevalence of parasitic infection was found to be from 2% to 61% ,.The parasitic infection and transmission was found to be associated with age ,job position, year of service, educational status, hand washing practice after toilet, hand washing before and after serving, trimming finger nails, wearing cup , gown, training and medical checkup. Therefore this study was aimed to assess the prevalence of intestinal parasites and associated factors among food handlers working in food and drink establishments at mizan-aman town. The study will help in initiation of raising the quality service provision to the food and drink establishments’ owners. In addition, it will also play a great role for achievement of national growth and transformation plan, by helping in reducing morbidity and mortality in relation to unsafe food and drink services provision. Moreover, this study will also be a baseline for researchers, and other concerned bodies whether governmental or nongovernmental bodies