Contamination of public squares and parks with parasites in Erbil city, Iraq

Department of Biology, College of Education, Salahaddin University – Erbil, Iraq
Ann Agric Environ Med 2015;22(3):418–420
Introduction and objective. The soil of public squares and parks may be contaminated with the infective stages of parasites because of the presence of stray animals in these parks. Many people take a rest in these places and they may be at risk of infection with parasites because the infective stages of parasites can survive for months, or even years, in spite of the factors of weather. Objective. To evaluate contamination with the eggs of parasites in the soil of parks in Erbil city, Iraq. Material and methods. Forty-eight soil samples were collected from 12 public parks and gardens from 11 different neighbourhoods (8 parks and 3 playgrounds) and one district in Erbil city. The zinc sulfate floatation method was used to recover the eggs of parasites from the samples. Results. Eggs of parasites were identified in 91.6% of the parks. Eggs of [i]Hymenolepis diminuta[/i] were found in 75%, [i]Toxocara [/i]spp. in 50%, [i]Ascaris[/i] spp. in 33.3%, [i]Taenia[/i] spp. in 25%, hookworm in 25%, [i]Trichostrongylus[/i] spp. in 16.7% and Trichuris spp. in 16.7% of the parks. [i]Helminth[/i] eggs were found in 48% soil samples with a mean number of 1.1 per soil sample. The most contaminated soil sample was found in a park in neighbourhood number 325 with 6 eggs. Conclusions. The presence of pathogenic parasites in the soil of parks in Erbil city constitutes a high risk to the people who use these parks for recreation, and requires the appropriate control for these parasites.