Skip to content
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


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.


Bitkowska E., Wnukowska N., Wojtyniak B., Dzbeński T.H. 2004. The occurrence of intestinal parasites among children attending first classes of the elementary schools in Poland in the school year 2002/2003. Przegląd Epidemiologiczny, 58, 295-302. (Abstract in English)Search in Google Scholar

Błaszkowska J., Kurnatowski P., Damięcka P. 2011. Contamination of the soil by eggs of geohelminths in rural areas of Łódź district (Poland). Helminthologia, 48, 67-76.Search in Google Scholar

Błaszkowska J., Wójcik A., Kurnatowski P., Szwabe K. 2013. Geohelminth egg contamination of children’s play areas in the city of Łódź (Poland). Veterinary Parasitology, 192, 228-23310.1016/j.vetpar.2012.09.033Search in Google Scholar

Bojar H., Kłapeć T. 2012. Contamination of soil with eggs of geohelminths in recreation areas in the Lublin region of Poland. Annals of Agricultural Environmental Medicine, 19, 267-270Search in Google Scholar

Borecka A., Gawor J., Niedworok M., Sordyl B. 2010. Occurrence of Toxocara spp. eggs in household environment of children with diagnosed toxocarosis in Łódź voivodeship. Wiadomości Parazytolologiczne, 56, 141-144. (Abstract in English)Search in Google Scholar

Dada B.J.O. 1979. A new technique for the recovery of Toxocara eggs from soil. Journal of Helminthology, 53, 141-14410.1017/S0022149X00005873Search in Google Scholar

Deplazes P., van Knappen F., Schweiger A., Overgaauw P.A.M. 2011. Role of pet dogs and cats in the transmission of helmintic zoonoses in Europe, with focus on echinococcosis and toxocarosis. Veterinary Parasitology, 182, 41-5310.1016/j.vetpar.2011.07.014Search in Google Scholar

Dubna S., Langrova I., Jankovska I., Vadlejch J., Pekar S., Napravnik J., Fechtner J. 2007. Contamination of soil with Toxocara eggs in urban (Praque) and rural areas in the Czech Republic. Veterinary Parasitology, 144, 81-8610.1016/j.vetpar.2006.09.023Search in Google Scholar

Dunn J.J., Columbus S.T., Aldeen W.E., Davis M., Carroll K.C. 2002. Trichuris vulpis recovered from patient with chronic diarrhea and five dogs. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 40, 2703-270410.1128/JCM.40.7.2703-2704.2002Search in Google Scholar

Gawor J., Borecka A., Żarnowska H., Marczyńska M., Dobosz S. 2008. Environmental and personal risk factors for toxocariasis in children with diagnosed disease in urban and rural areas of central Poland. Veterinary Parasitology, 155, 217-22210.1016/j.vetpar.2008.05.016Search in Google Scholar

Gawor J., Borecka A., Marczyńska M., Dobosz S., Żarnowska- Prymek H. 2015. Risk of human toxocarosis in Poland due to Toxocara infection of dogs and cats. Acta Parasitologica, 60, 99-104.Search in Google Scholar

Hotez P.J., Fenwick A., Savioli L., Molyneux D. 2009. Rescuing the bottom billion through control of neglected tropical diseases. Lancet, 373, 1570-167510.1016/S0140-6736(09)60233-6Search in Google Scholar

Jarosz W., Kacprzak E., Rychlicki W., Mizgajska-Wiktor H. 2003. Soil contamination with Toxocara spp. and toxocarosis in people from rural areas of Poznań region (Kołaczkowo, Lusowo). Wiadomości Parazytologiczne, 49, 399Search in Google Scholar

Jarosz W., Mizgajska-Wiktor H., Kirwan P., Konarski J., Rychlicki W., Wawrzyniak G. 2010. Developmental age, physical fitness and Toxocara seroprevalence amongs lower-secondary students living in rural areas contaminated with Toxocara eggs. Parasitology, 137, 53-6310.1017/S0031182009990874Search in Google Scholar

Kłapeć T., Borecka A. 2012. Contamination of vegetables, fruits and soil with geohelmints eggs on organic farms in Poland. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 19, 481-485Search in Google Scholar

Magnaval J.F., Glickman L.T., Dorchies P., Morassin B. 2001. Highlights of human toxocariasis. Korean Journal of Parasitology, 39, 1-1110.3347/kjp.2001.39.1.1Search in Google Scholar

Mizgajska H. 1985. Preliminary results of studies on the contamination of recreational areas. Annals of Academy Physician Education in Poznan, 34, 237-242. (in Polish) Mizgajska H. 1995. Toxocara spp. eggs in the soil of public and private places in the Poznań area of Poland. Acta Parasitologica, 40, 211-213Search in Google Scholar

Mizgajska H. 2000. Soil contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs in the Kraków area and two nearby villages. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne, 46, 105-110. (Abstract in English) Search in Google Scholar

Mizgajska H., Luty T. 1998. Toxocara spp. in the Poznan urban area. Przegląd Epidemiologiczny, 52, 441-446. (Abstract in English) Search in Google Scholar

Niedworok M., Sordyl B., Płaneta-Małecka I., Borecka A., Gawor J., Małecka-Panas E. 2008. Clinical picture of toxocariasis in children in the Lodz region. Przewodnik Lekarza, 2, 83-87. (Abstract in English) Search in Google Scholar

Nowak P., Jochymek M., Pietrzyk A. 2007. Occurrence of human intestinal parasites in selected populations of Cracow region in the years 2000-2006 on the basis of parasitological stool examinations performed in the Laboratory of Parasitology of the District Sanitary-Epidemiological Center. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne, 53, 285-293. (Abstract in English) Search in Google Scholar

Petryszak A., Nosal P. 2003. Contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs of soil from urban lawns in Bytom. Zootechnical Scientific Annals, 17, 779-782. (in Polish) Śpiewak E. 2003. Occurrence of Toxocara canis among children from area of Lodz - five years study. Proceedings of the Conference "Parasitoses - clinical problems", June 6 2003, Białystok Traversa D. 2011. Are we paying too much attention to cardiopulmonary nematodes and neglecting old-fashioned worms like Trichuris vulpis?. Parasites&Vectors, 4, 32Search in Google Scholar

Traversa D. 2012. Pet roundworms and hookworms: a continuing need for global worming. Parasites&Vectors, 5, 9110.1186/1756-3305-5-91Search in Google Scholar

Żarnowska H., Borecka A., Gawor J., Marczyńska M., Dobosz S., Basiak W. 2008. A serological and epidemiological evaluation of risk factors for toxocariasis in children in central Poland. Journal of Helminthology, 82, 123-127 10.1017/S0022149X08912372Search in Google Scholar

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