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Listeriosis is an emerging zoonoses requiring continuous surveillance in order to prevent
outbreaks in humans. The disease can develop after consumption of a wide range of foods
such as meat products, dairy products especially in ripened cheeses, delicatessen products,
fish and seafood products and vegetables. It is a rare disease with high hospitalization rates
for those who become ill and high mortality rate.
Consumption of locally processed milk is becoming more popular among low and medium
income earners in Nasarawa state and checking for possible disease agents that could be
ingested in locally processed milk is essential for prevention. This research estimates the risks
of listeriosis associated with consumption of milk products in Nasarawa State and establishes
science-based intervention strategies aimed at reducing these risks. The study determines
association between socio-demographic characteristics of milk vendors and the occurrence of
Listeria species in locally processed milk in Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
Four hundred and twenty (420) milk samples were collected from vendors after administering
questionnaire on milk processing practices.
Milk samples were processed in the laboratory by culture and isolation, biochemical
characterisation, agglutination and Microbact test. Antibiotic sensitivity was also conducted
on samples that tested positive for listeria.
The socio-demographic characteristics of respondents showed that majoritywere within the
age group 20-24 years, they were mostly females (92.4%), traders (53.1%), Muslims
(99.5%); had no formal education (67.4%). Furthermore, majority of them earned between
N6,000-N18,000 monthly (52.1%). Out of 420 samples collected and tested, 10.2% (43
samples) were positive for listeria through culture and isolation. Listeria species found in this
study are 100% susceptible to enrofloxacin and doxycycline; 77.8% to kanamycin but
resistant to Penicillin (93.7%) and Amoxicillin (80%) and Sulphamethazole/trimethoprim
(60%). Borrowing/sharing of milk processing equipment and refrigeration/addition of ice to
processed milk are factors significantly found to be associated with presence of listeria in
milk sample (with odd ratio of 3.07 and 5.54 respectively). Conversely, training on food
safety and supervision during milk processing were found to be significantly protective from
listeria in milk sample (with odd ratio of 0.14 and 0.18 respectively).
Processors of locally processed milk should be encouraged to undergo food safety training,
observe strict supervision during processing of milk and be discouraged from the practice of
adding ice to milk and borrowing or sharing of equipment.
Listeriosis caused by Listeria specie is an emerging zoonotic disease requiring continuous
surveillance in order to prevent outbreaks in humans. The invasive form of listeriosis is
observed primarily in high-risk population groups such as the elderly, individuals with
lowered immunity, pregnant women and newborns. Ready-to-eat foods are the most
important source of both sporadic cases and outbreaks of listeriosis in humans. The disease
can develop after consumption of a wide range of foods such as meat products , dairy
products especially in ripened cheeses, delicatessen products fish and seafood products
and vegetables. Animals are also susceptible to listeriosis but can carry Listeria
First confirmed human case of listeriosis was reported in Nigeria in 1982, food borne
listeriosis has not been much documented. The organism causes infection (listeriosis) in man
and in different animal species such as cattle, sheep and goats. People at highest risk
included the elderly, the fetuses of pregnant women, and the immunosuppressed. It is unique
among foodborne pathogens since its incubation time is about seven days. Human infection is
therefore more devastating in immunosuppressed individuals, pregnant women, infants,
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