Influence of physico–chemistry and mineralogy on the occurrence of geohelminths in geophagic soils from selected communities in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, and their possible implication on human health.
Sumbele, Irene U.
Ngole-jeme, Veronica Mpode
Ekosse, Georges-Ivo E.
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Geophagic soils from selected communities in Eastern Cape, South Africa were characterised to determine their properties and geohelminth content. The soils were coarse-textured with cation exchange capacity values ranging from 6.35 to 18.94 cmol (+)/kg. Quartz was the dominant mineral in the samples with SiO₂, Al₂O₃, and Fe₂O₃(t) having the highest concentrations among major element oxides. The soil properties, mineralogical composition, and low amounts of particle binding substances may favour the survival of geohelminth ova in the soils. Seven of the samples contained at least one of the following geohelminths: Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Necator americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale and Strongyloides stercoralis. The presence of these geohelminths in the soils was attributed to agricultural and sanitary practices inherent in the communities and the soil properties. Communities need to be sensitised on the importance of safe sanitary and animal husbandry practices to reduce the prevalence of helminth infection among geophagists.