Lee et al 2011: Enteropathogenic bacteria contamination of unchlorinated drinking water in Korea, 2010

Lee, S.W., K. Lee do, H.M. An, M.K. Cha, K.J. Kim, and N.J. Ha. Enteropathogenic bacteria contamination of unchlorinated drinking water in Korea, 2010. Environ Health Toxicol. 2011;26:e2011016. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to assess the microbiological quality of unchlorinated drinking water in Korea, 2010. One hundred and eighty unchlorinated drinking water samples were collected from various sites in Seoul and Gyeonggi province.

METHODS: To investigate bacterial presence, the pour plate method was used with cultures grown on selective media for total bacteria, total coliforms, and Staphylococcus spp., respectively.

RESULTS: In the 180 total bacteria investigation, 72 samples from Seoul and 33 samples from Gyeonggi province were of an unacceptable quality (>10(2) CFU/mL). Of all the samples tested, total coliforms were detected in 28 samples (15.6%) and Staphylococcus spp. in 12 samples (6.7%). Most of the coliform isolates exhibited high-level resistance to cefazolin (88.2%), cefonicid (64.7%) and ceftazidime (20.6%). In addition, Staphylococcus spp. isolates exhibited high-level resistance to mupirocin (42%). Species of Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Cupriavidus, Hafnia, Rahnella, Serratia, and Yersinia were isolated from the water samples.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that consumption of unchlorinated drinking water could represent a notable risk to the health of consumers. As such, there is need for continuous monitoring of these water sources and to establish standards.

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