OCCURRENCE OF ESCHERICHIA COLI O157 IN GAZA STRIP: A PRELIMINARY STUDY

Fadel A. Sharif, Hashem Z. Arafa

Abstract


This study was carried out in order to investigate the occurrence of E. coli O157 in different types of samples collected randomly from all over the Gaza Strip. Data on prevalence of this emerging cause of food-borne illness in Gaza Strip are not available. The samples tested in this study included: 190 minced meat samples, 300 vegetable samples, 152 drinking water samples, 809 diarrheal stool specimens and 120 sewage samples. The overall occurrence of E. coli O157 was as follows: 11.2% in minced meat, 11.7% in vegetable samples, 9.9% in drinking water and 20.8% in sewage samples. E. coli O157 was more prevalent in diarrheal stools collected from the 0-4 years age group and its overall occurrence in stool specimens was 10.6%. These results implicate that this pathogen can not be ignored as a possible cause of diarrhea in Gaza Strip. The heavy use of untreated organic fertilizers, lack of proper sewage disposal and poor hygiene practices are believed to be the main factors contributing to the occurrence of E. coli O157 in Gaza Strip.

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