Drinking water contamination with Helicobacter pylori, Peru

Boehnke KF, Brewster RK, Sánchez BN, Valdivieso M, Bussalleu A, Guevara M, Saenz CG, Alva SO, Gil E, Xi C. An assessment of drinking water contamination with Helicobacter pylori in Lima, Peru. Helicobacter. 2018 Jan 8. doi: 10.1111/hel.12462.

BACKGROUND: Helicobacter pylori is a gut bacterium that is the primary cause of gastric cancer. H. pylori infection has been consistently associated with lack of access to sanitation and clean drinking water. In this study, we conducted time-series sampling of drinking water in Lima, Peru, to examine trends of H. pylori contamination and other water characteristics.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Drinking water samples were collected from a single faucet in Lima’s Lince district 5 days per week from June 2015 to May 2016, and pH, temperature, free available chlorine, and conductivity were measured. Quantities of H. pylori in all water samples were measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Relationships between the presence/absence and quantity of H. pylori and water characteristics in the 2015-2016 period were examined using regression methods accounting for the time-series design.

RESULTS: Forty-nine of 241 (20.3%) of drinking water samples were contaminated with H. pylori. Statistical analyses identified no associations between sampling date and the likelihood of contamination with H. pylori. Statistically significant relationships were found between lower temperatures and a lower likelihood of the presence of H. pylori (P < .05), as well as between higher pH and higher quantities of H. pylori (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study has provided evidence of the presence of H. pylori DNA in the drinking water of a single drinking water faucet in the Lince district of Lima. However, no seasonal trends were observed. Further studies are needed to determine the presence of H. pylori in other drinking water sources in other districts in Lima, as well as to determine the viability of H. pylori in these water sources. Such studies would potentially allow for better understanding and estimates of the risk of infection due to exposure to H. pylori in drinking water.

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