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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 25, 2015

Risk of soil-transmitted helminth infections on agritourism farms in central and eastern Poland

Jakub Gawor and Anna Borecka
From the journal Acta Parasitologica

Abstract

Agritourism provides ecological tourist services for urban dwellers in rural areas. Agritourism farms offer space and attractive scenery for people seeking to rest in quiet place and wanting healthy, outdoor recreational activities. The high epidemiological standard of agritourism farms is beneficial for the health of the farm owners and the guests. Upgraded level of the farm sanitation, also from parasitological point of view is of great importance, especially that among agritourism farms guests predominate families with small children. A field survey was carried out in 57 farms in central-eastern Poland to evaluate the environmental risk factors for geohelminth infections on agritourism farms offering tourist services for urban dwellers. Samples of soil were collected from 76 sites, i.e. yards surrounding houses, vegetable, fruit and flower gardens, playgrounds and sandpits. In addition, samples were taken from 27 public places of recreation (playgrounds at forest clearing) visited by agritourism farm guests. During visits the farms were inspected and the owners were questioned about their awareness of the threat of parasitic infections. Soil contamination with geohelminth eggs was found in 4 examined farms (7.0%), in one locality on each farm. The eggs of Toxocara spp. and Ascaris spp. were detected in single samples from 3 backyards (6.4%) and one sandpit (10.0%). In the soil samples from places of recreation outside the farms eggs of human or animal helminths were not identified. The results of this study showed that the risk of helminth infections on agritourism farms is low, since geohelminth eggs (1-3 per sample) were detected only in four samples (0.5%) among 760 collected from farms households. The farm owners must be aware of the importance of preventive measures to eliminate the environmental contamination with eggs of zoonotic soiltransmitted helminths. Special attention should be paid to the risk of intestinal parasites of cats of semi domestic behaviour migrating from neighbouring yards as well as of red foxes frequently observed in the vicinity of agritourism farms.

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Received: 2015-4-20
Revised: 2015-4-22
Accepted: 2015-5-27
Published Online: 2015-9-25
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS