The study investigated the presence of water-borne protozoan parasites in various packaged water samples in Onitsha South L.G.A., Anambra State between March and July 2009. G. lamblia and E. histolytica were identified using the wet mount technique and modified zeihl-neelson staining technique was used to identify C. parvum. A total of 324 samples were examined, 100 bottled water and 224 sachet water from 11 different brands. The frequency and percentage of sachet water found contaminated were 17 (7.59%) while bottled water were 5 (5%). G. lamblia was the commonest parasitic protozoa isolated 11 (3.4%) while C. parvum was the least, 4 (1.23%). The factors influencing the contamination rate of the packaged water were determined but none of these factors were statistically significant using chi-square analysis (P < 0.05). The presence of these protozoan parasites in packaged water depends on improper processing and purification procedures, unhygienic handling after production, small size of the pathogens which enable them escape filtration, their resistance to physical water treatment agents and disinfectants, poor storage facilities as well as proximity of the water point to contamination sources.


Generally, humans drink water that contains pathogens or contain unacceptable levels of dissolved contaminants. Such waters are not potable water and drinking or using them in cooking leads to wide spread of acute and chronic illness. However, they are key determinants of many microbial diseases with serious complications in immuno-competent and immuno-compromised individuals (Steiner et al., 1997).

Water must have some sufficient quality to serve as drinking water. A potable water supply is one which is drinkable. Potable water also is treated water that meets that quality standard for human consumption and other uses (Agha, 2008). It may be packaged or unpackaged as the case may be. Most table water today includes treated water that is packaged in plastic bottles or sachets, popularly known as “pure water”.

The introduction of sachet and bottled water in Nigeria was to provide safe, hygienic and affordable instant drinking water to the public and curb the magnitude of water related infection in the country. Although this is a laudable idea, current trends seem to suggest that sachet drinking water could be a route of the transmission of enteric pathogen (Kwakye Nuako, 2007). This does not necessarily mean that bottled water is 100% free from any pathogen. Recent investigation conducted on the safety of drinking water in Lagos, Nigeria has shown that sachet water especially from hawkers is not of good microbiological quality (Dada, 2009). This observation was based on studies carried out on water samples to ascertain the bacteriological quality of the water in sachets, to identify contributory factors that determine the fate of packaged water product as it moves from catchments to consumer and to highly unharnessed opportunities for policy improvements that would allow for sustained and improved regulation of the sachet water industry. Also, investigation conducted on the safety of drinking water in Ghana has shown that bottled water on the Ghanaian market is of good microbiological quality while the quality of some factory bagged sachet and hand-tied polythene-bagged drinking water was noted to be doubtful (Obiri-Danso, 2003).

Lack of information on pathogenic organisms associated with drinking water in our community creates some uncertainties in our understanding of overall quality of drinking water (Kwakye Nuako, 2007). According to Coker, 2004 he observed that in Lagos State many people depend on water vendors to whom they pay heavily for provision of water to meet daily domestic needs. People tend to consume sachet and bottled drinking water because of its instant availability to quench appetite. However, the high dependence of people on sachet water due to its low price and instant availability to quench appetite and its low cost of production on the side of the manufacturers brought about increase of different brands of sachet water produced and marketed in Nigeria.

It is necessary to note that Nigeria as a country is challenged not only on food stuff. However, the country is also facing drinking water scarcity, a situation that has been identified for years. It is also important to note that due to scarcity of water in most places, drinking water is got from doubtful source which is major potential sources of water-borne diseases. This is a great concern to many sectors in this present administration as they try to implement strategies to meet the health millennium development goals (MDGS) in 2015”, a former minister of health said (Agha, 2008).

Protozoan organisms are ubiquitous and could be found in various systems including water bodies common examples are Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, Microsporidia spp and Cyclospora cayelenensis (Steiner et al, 1997, Maza et al 1997, Koneman et al, 1992). The presence of these organisms in sources of drinking water is partly due to four reasons. Firstly, these organisms are indigenous pathogens found in most domestic animals; secondly the degree of environmental contamination with their infective stages; thirdly, their resistance to water purification process and finally unhygienic handling of drinking water (Meisel et al., 1776; Le Chevallier et al., 1991).

In developing countries, water–borne gastrointestinal parasitic pathogens such as Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lambia and Entamoeba histolytica are frequently associated with mobidity, particularly in children (Bilal, 2003). These parasites are most common cause of infection world wide (Pickering et al., 1984; Curry and Smith 1998; Tanyuksel et al., 2001). In developed nations, outbreaks of E. histolytica infections have been caused by sewage contaminated water supplies (Barwick et al., 1999). In Nigeria, an overall prevalence of intestinal parasite (16%) was reported (Alakpa et al, 2002). However, the most frequent intestinal parasite was Cryptosporidium parvum and the least was Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica. In the study to investigate the episode of giardiasis among the inhabitant of Abagana, Nigeria, its detection in the natural water bodies and its relationship with environmental factor, the overall prevalence of giadiasis among the inhabitants was 18.5% (Obiukwu et al, 2008). A four year study on the prevalence of blood and gastrointestinal parasites of man on (18) L.G.A of Edo State, Nigeria revealed 4% and 3% for E. histolytica and Giardia lamblia respectively (Mordi et al, 2007). Mbanugo et al (2005) in a study conducted to determine the prevalence of Cryptosporidium parvum infections among children aged 0 – 15 years in Awka, metropolis, Anambra State, Nigeria detected 14% of the children examined positive.

The Federal Ministry of Health in 2007 approved the Nigerian standard for drinking water quality (NSDWQ) – NIS 554, 2007 in an attempt to ensure that water meant for drinking meet the minimum quality standard as recommended. The purposes are to safeguard the public from the hazards of water pollution and contamination (Agha, 2008).

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) is mandated to enforce compliance with internationally defined drinking water guidelines, but regulation of the packaged water industry aimed at a good assurance has remained a challenge to the agency (C.A.M.O.N, 2007). NAFDAC regulations require full labeling to be informative and accurate (USDA, 2005). The minimum labeling requirements for regulated items involve a declaration of the products brand name that must appear in bold letters, a complete “location” address of the manufacturer and best use before expiring date, metric volume and most importantly NAFDAC registration number (Dada, 2009).

In order to clarify the quality of packaged drinking water, there is an urgent need for determination of parasites associated with drinking water in these sachet and bottled water.

1.1       OBJECTIVES
The major objective is to ascertain the parasitological quality of sachet and bottled water and to compare them.

These are the specific objectives:
--                   To investigate the presence of water-borne protozoan parasites in different brands of sachet and bottled water in Onitsha South L.G.A,

Anambra State Nigeria .such as Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica.

--                   To determine the factors influencing the contamination rate of drinking water such as points of purchase, toilet–facilities of the water packaging factory, source of raw water and its proximity to the contamination source, location of the factory producing the packaged water and sanitary habits of workers in packaged water producing factories.

--                   To make appropriate recommendation aimed at regulating packaged water companies.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 106 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word   Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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