Intestinal protozoa are parasites transmitted by consumption of contaminated water and food and
mainly affect children and elder people and cause considerable health problems. They are the leading causes of
outpatient morbidity due to diarrhea in the developing countries. So, assessing water and food source of diarrheal
patients and identifying the main associated factors for transmission of protozoan parasitic infections help for
effective control measures of protozoan infections. Hence, the current study was aimed at determining the prevalence
of foodborne intestinal protozoa infections and associated factors among diarrheic patients in North Ethiopia.
A health facility based cross-sectional study was conducted among 223 patients with watery diarrhea in four
selected government health facilities in North Ethiopia from November 2016–June 2017. A structured questionnaire
was used to collect data on socio-demography of study participants and factors associated with foodborne protozoa
infections. The diarrheic stool samples were collected, transported, and processed using direct wet mount, formal-ether
concentration and modified ZiehlNeelson staining methods. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 21 and
descriptive statistics, bi-variate, and multivariate logistic regressions were computed. P
-value < 0.05 at 95% confidence
interval was considered statistically significant.
The overall prevalence of foodborne protozoa infection was 101 (45.3%). The predominant protozoa species
identified was Entamoeba histolytica/dispar
55 (24.7%), followed by Giardia intestinalis
25 (11.2%) and Cryptosporidium
species 5 (2.2%). The highest proportion of protozoa infection was observed among males (23.3%) and the age group
15–24 years (13.5%). Statistically significant associations were observed between foodborne protozoan infection and
not using any type of recipe to decontaminate salads and fruits (AOR = 2.64, 95 CI: 1.34–5.19, P
= 0.005) and using
vinegar as a decontaminant (AOR = 2.83, 95 CI: 1.24–6.48, P
= 0.014). Eating out (meals at a restaurant) on the other
hand was found to be protective for foodborne protozoan infection (AOR = 0.43, 95 CI: 0.23–0.78, P
Our study revealed that foodborne protozoa infections are of public health significance in the study area.
Vinegar, which is frequently used as a recipe for decontaminating salads and fruits, is inversely related to foodborne
protozoa parasite infection .