Detecting parasites loads in urine diversion toilets.
In an attempt to supply sanitation to the growing communities in rural and peri-urban areas around Durban, the eThekweni Municipality has installed urine diversion (UD) toilets which have been modified to suit local conditions . These toilets are based on the ecological sanitation (EcoSan) system. The future aims are to reuse waste as a composting medium and minimize the use of water but the presence of microorganisms in the faecal waste poses a potential health risk to people in contact with it. Currently the Municipality has not deemed the waste safe for re-use but has suggested that after a one year standing period it should be free of all potential pathogens including Ascaris lumbricoiodes (human roundworm) ova. This study reports on the development of the AMBIC protocol for the recovery of Ascaris ova from the standing vaults of UD toilets. The protocol has been shown to consistently recover over 70% of Ascaris ova and has the added advantage of recovering the ova of other helminth species (Trichuris trichiura and Taenia sp.) present in a UD standing vault sample. Recoveries of Ascaris ova and ova of other parasite species, namely Trichuris and Taenia sp., are reported from waste which has been standing for one year. This is cause for concern as it shows one year is not a sufficient standing period to render the waste free of all microorganisms. Sampling from 124 UD toilet vaults that were in use, showed a high prevalence of both helminth (Ascaris lumbricoiodes, Trichuris trichiura and Taenia sp.) and protozoan (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) parasites.