Food poisoning (food-borne disease) is an infection that occurs after consuming food contaminated by sufficient numbers of viable pathogens and their toxins. It is a common and costly preventable infection that is of public health concern, and which is treated with available antibiotics. Jellof-rice, abacha, moi-moi and zobo drinks are some ready-to-eat foods sold within the PRESCO campus of Ebonyi State University (EBSU), Abakaliki, Nigeria. These foods are commonly patronized by students and other unsuspecting visitors in this region, and they have been implicated in a handful of bacterial related infections in recent times. Random samples of the food items were collected from shops selling them, and these were analyzed microbiologically to determine the most prevalent organisms. Suspect isolates were identified and tested for antibiotic susceptibility profiles. Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were the commonest microbes isolated, and these showed varying rates of resistance and susceptibility to the tested drugs. Clindamycin, ampicillin and ofloxacin were less effective against the test organisms while gentamicin, erythromycin and ciprofloxacin showed substantial activity. The findings in this study showed that some ready-to-eat foods and zobo drinks sold within PRESCO campus of EBSU, Abakaliki, Nigeria were considerably contaminated with resistant pathogenic bacteria, hence, the need for constant monitoring of ready-to-eat foods in order to prevent the outbreak of food-borne illnesses in this region.
Key words: Zobo drinks, ready-to-eat foods, bacteria, antibiotic resistance.
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