Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite which can be transmitted via food and water. Some studies have shown irrigation water to be routes of transmission for Cryptosporidium into the food chain, however, little information is known about Cryptosporidium levels in wastewater used for irrigation in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana. Kumasi and for that matter Ghana is not immune to the widespread practice of wastewater irrigation for farm produce in developing countries which has attracted attention of both, policy makers and academia. However, most previous studies of microbial risk assessment focus on the possible health effects and risk estimation for consumers of wastewater irrigated produce, whereas farmers who actually come into direct contact with the wastewater have received little attention. This study estimated the possible risk/diseases from farmer exposure to Cryptosporidium, a zoonotic pathogen causing gastroenteritis. The results indicate high positive levels of Cryptosporidium in the irrigation water, however, the levels of Cryptosporidium decreases during the rainfall seasons, risk assessment results show that, farmers face a higher risk of being infected by Cryptosporidium due to frequent exposure to wastewater. An adoption of a possible on-farm wastewater treatment option was found to reduce the risk of infection of the farmers. The results of this study highlight the need for a proactive policy to integrate a multi-barrier approach to reduce direct contact of farmers with wastewater for irrigation, to minimise risk of infection.
- Quantitative microbial risk assessment