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Children are predisposed to fungal skin infection and ill health from dirty hands which they use for their feeding and daily activities. This study focuses on isolating and identifying fungal organisms from the hands of primary school pupils and to determine the microbial load of the sample. The samples were collected under aseptic conditions and analyzed microbiologically. The streaking process was carried out on Sabouraud dextrose agar to isolate the fungal organisms present in the swab samples. The result of the direct plate count showed that the total number of isolates recorded was 33. Macroscopic and microscopic observation of the fungal organisms were done to identify morphological and structural appearance of the fungal growth and spores. Test such as germ tube test was done for further identification of yeasts. A total of 30 isolates of 4 genera were identified as follows; Candida, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Trichophyton. Aspergillius spp had the highest percentage occurrence of 40% while Candida spp had the lowest percentage occurrence of 15%. Washing of hands reduces the load of the fungal organisms, hence, I strongly recommend that hand washing facilities which include soap, disinfectant and clean water be provided for school children to maintain good hand washing practices as to reduce disease occurrence. Also the school management should ensure that children are taught how to wash their hands properly.







Title Page                                                                                                                                i

Certification                                                                                                                            ii

Approval Page                                                                                                                        iii

Dedication                                                                                                                              iv

Acknowledgement                                                                                                                  v

Abstract                                                                                                                                  vi

Table of Content                                                                                                                     vii

List of Tables                                                                                                                          x

Introduction                                                                                                                            1

Literature Review                                                                                                                   4

Materials and Methods                                                                                                           14

Result                                                                                                                                      18

Discussion                                                                                                                               20

Conclusion and recommendation                                                                                           21

References                                                                                                                              22

Appendix                                                                                                                                23       













The hand is the multi-fingered extremity at the end of the arm, it is a grasping organ at the end of the forelimb of certain vertebrates that exhibits great mobility and flexibility in the digits and in the whole organ. It is one means by which humans have changed the world by creating gigantic buildings and machines, tiny electronics and are capable of a wide variety of functions, including gross and fine motor and it is important for intrapersonal and interpersonal transfer of microorganisms.

School children are predisposed to fungal infections due to exposure to soil, the school building, the external environment such as the playground and through inconsistent hand washing. Hence, fungal organisms come in contact with the hands of these children and if not properly taken care of through washing could lead to other primary infections.

Fungi are eukaryotic organisms with membrane bound nucleus, well differentiated apparatus and a cell wall, hence not typical eukaryotic organisms. They are much larger than bacteria, the vegetative cells being 2-10 µm in diameter (Prescott et al., 1999). All fungi are heterotrophic and most of them are saprobes. Some can also be parasites on living animals or plants although very few fungi absolutely require a living host (Kathleen 2005). They replicate sexually by fusion of gametes and asexually by spore formation, and exist in macroscopic or microscopic forms (Prescott et al., 1999).

Fungal classification 

The classification of fungi is based on the characteristic of sexual spores and fruiting bodies present during sexual stages of their lifecycles (Michael et al., 1986).  They belong to the kingdom fungi which is divided into divisions Eumycota and Myxomycota (Dubey and Maheshwari 2006).

Division Eumycota: These are fungi consisting of filamentous structures and are further divided into five subdivisions as outlined below.

Subdivision Mastigomycotina: They are primitive fungi that may form branched chains of cells that attach to the substrate by root like structures called rhizoids (Kathleen 2005).

Subdivision Zygomycotina: The mycelium is aseptate and if septate the septa are complete. Sexual reproduction is by production of zygospores and asexual by production of non motile sporangiophores (Boyd and Marr 1980; Heritage et al., 1996; Forbes et al., 2002).

Subdivision Ascomycotina: Members of this subdivision are fungi that reproduce sexually by production of ascospores and asexually by formation of conidia produced at the tip of  the conidiospores (Forbes et al., 2002; Kathleen 2005).

Subdivision Basidiomycotina: Members in this subdivision are fungi that reproduce sexually by formation basidiospores on specialized structures called basidia. Asexual reproduction is by formation of conidia that have incomplete septate hyphae and fleshly fruiting bodies are common (Forbes et al., 2002; Kathleen 2005).

Division Myxomycota: These are fungi with plasimodia or pseudoplasimodia. The division consists of four classes; Acrasiomycetes, Hydromyxomycetes, Myxomycetes and Plasmodiophoromycetes (Dubey and Maheshwari 2006).

Fungal infections: They are divided into 5 types: superficial mycosis, cutaneous mycosis, subcutaneous mycosis, systemic mycosis and opportunistic mycosis.

FUNGI IN OUR ENVIRONMENT: Fungi play an important role in energy cycling within, and between, ecosystems. Fungi are found in terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments, and are part of a diverse community of “decomposers” that break down dead plants and animals. Fungi release digestive enzymes that are used to metabolize complex organic compounds into soluble nutrients, such as simple sugars, nitrates and phosphates.


The hands and fingernails are often affected by fungal and yeast infections, such as those caused by species of Trichophyton and Candida Children prone to fungi and yeast infections, which they use for their feeding and daily activities.


To isolate fungi from the hands of primary school pupils.

Specific Objective

  • To collect swab samples from hands of pupils in primary school.
  • To culture fungal organisms from the swab samples.
  • To determine the microbial count of the fungal organisms gotten from the swab samples collected before and after washing of the hands of the pupils
  • To identify the fungal organisms present in the swab samples.



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