Journal of the South African Veterinary Association
On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
OGENDI, Edwin et al. Questionnaire Survey on the Occurrence of Risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection amongst Farmers in Thika District, Kenya. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2013, vol.84, n.1, pp. 00-00. ISSN 2224-9435.
A survey was conducted to determine the occurrence of risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection amongst farmers in Thika District, Kenya. Interviews were conducted in a total of 385 households using a structured questionnaire. The water consumed at household level originated from taps (74.3%), rivers or streams (15.1%), wells (5.4%) and boreholes (5.2%). A number of households (46.8%) consumed water without boiling or applying any form of treatment. All respondents washed vegetables before cooking, whilst 99.0% washed fruits before eating. Boiled milk was preferred by 99.5% of the farmers. The majority (85.2%) consumed beef more often, whilst 1.6% consumed pork. The majority (98.7%) consumed thoroughly cooked meat. Meat was preserved by 17% of farmers. Only four farmers (1.2%) who practised mixed farming used gloves when handling livestock manure. Five farmers (1.6%) reported the occurrence of abortion in ruminants and pigs on their farms within the last two years before the study. Almost half (44.9%) of the households owned cats, which were kept mainly as pets (79.8%) and for deterring rodents (20.2%). The majority of households (91.3%) fed the cats on leftovers, whilst 8.1% fed cats with raw offal. Sixteen households (9.2%) provided housing for cats. Only five households (2.8%) had litter boxes, but none of the households with litter boxes used gloves when cleaning them out. Disposal of cat faeces was done mainly by women (55.5%). Only one farmer (0.3%) had some knowledge about toxoplasmosis, but was not aware of the transmission mechanism. The study highlights the need for public health education to raise awareness of risk factors for toxoplasmosis.