Tag Archives: microbial contaminants

Cholera Outbreak in Vietnam from Unsafe Water

Nguyen TV, Pham QD, Do QK, Diep TT, Phan HC, Ho TV, Do HT, Phan LT, Tran HN. Cholera returns to southern Vietnam in an outbreak associated with consuming unsafe water through iced tea: A matched case-control study. PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 2017 Apr 13;11(4):e0005490. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005490.

BACKGROUND: After more than a decade of steadily declining notifications, the number of reported cholera cases has recently increased in Vietnam. We conducted a matched case-control study to investigate transmission of cholera during an outbreak in Ben Tre, southern Vietnam, and to explore the associated risk factors.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Sixty of 71 diarrheal patients confirmed to be infected with cholera by culture and diagnosed between May 9 and August 3, 2010 in Ben Tre were consecutively recruited as case-patients. Case-patients were matched 1:4 to controls by commune, sex, and 5-year age group. Risk factors for cholera were examined by multivariable conditional logistic regression. In addition, environmental samples from villages containing case-patients were taken to identify contamination of food and water sources. The regression indicated that drinking iced tea (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 8.40, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.84-39.25), not always boiling drinking water (aOR = 2.62, 95% CI: 1.03-6.67), having the main source of water for use being close to a toilet (aOR = 4.36, 95% CI: 1.37-13.88), living with people who had acute diarrhea (aOR = 13.72, 95% CI: 2.77-67.97), and little or no education (aOR = 4.89, 95% CI: 1.18-20.19) were significantly associated with increased risk of cholera. In contrast, drinking stored rainwater (aOR = 0.17, 95% CI: 0.04-0.63), eating cooked seafood (aOR = 0.27, 95% CI: 0.10-0.73), and eating steamed vegetables (aOR = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.07-0.70) were protective against cholera. Vibrio cholerae O1 Ogawa carrying ctxA was found in two of twenty-five river water samples and one of six wastewater samples.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The magnitude of the cholera outbreak in Ben Tre was lower than in other similar settings. This investigation identified several risk factors and underscored the importance of continued responses targeting cholera prevention in southern Vietnam. The association between drinking iced tea and cholera and the spread of V. cholerae O1, altered El Tor strains warrant further research. These findings might be affected by a number of limitations due to the inability to capture asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections, the possible underreporting of personal unhygienic behaviors, and the purposive selection of environmental samples.

Algae Removal of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCPs); Lake Mead

Bai X, Acharya K. Algae-mediated removal of selected pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) from Lake Mead water. The Science of the total environment. 2017 Jan 12. pii: S0048-9697(16)32890-X. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.192.

The persistence and fate of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in the Lake Mead ecosystem are particularly important considering the potential ecological risks and human health impacts. This study evaluated the removal of five common PPCPs (i.e., trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, carbamazepine, ciprofloxacin, and triclosan) from Lake Mead water mediated by the green alga Nannochloris sp. The results from the incubation studies showed that trimethoprim and carbamazepine were highly resistant to uptake in the algal cultural medium and were measured at approximately 90%-100% of the applied dose after 14days of incubation. Sulfamethoxazole was found relatively persistent, with >60% of the applied dose remaining in the water after 14days, and its removal was mainly caused by algae-mediated photolysis. However, ciprofloxacin and triclosan dissipated significantly and nearly 100% of the compounds were removed from the water after 7days of incubation under 24h of light. Ciprofloxacin and triclosan were highly susceptible to light, and their estimated half-lives were 12.7hours for ciprofloxacin and 31.2hours for triclosan. Algae-mediated sorption contributed to 11% of the removal of trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole, 13% of the removal of carbamazepine, and 27% of the removal of triclosan from the lake water. This research showed that 1) trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, and carbamazepine are quite persistent in aquatic environments and may potentially affect human health via drinking water intake; 2) photolysis is the dominant pathway to remove ciprofloxacin from aquatic ecosystems, which indicates that ciprofloxacin may have lower ecological risks compared with other PPCPs; and 3) triclosan can undergo photolysis as well as algae-mediated uptake and it may potentially affect the food web because of its high toxicity to aquatic species.

Point of Use Filters for Waterborne Pathogen Removal

Totaro M, Valentini P, Casini B, Miccoli M, Costa AL, Baggiani A. Experimental comparison of point-of-use filters for drinking water ultrafiltration. J Hosp Infect. 2016 Dec 1. pii: S0195-6701(16)30543-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2016.11.017.

BACKGROUND: Waterborne pathogens such as Pseudomonas spp. and Legionella spp. may persist in hospital water networks despite chemical disinfection. Point-of-use filtration represents a physical control measure that can be applied in high-risk areas to contain the exposure to such pathogens. New technologies have enabled an extension of filters’ lifetimes and have made available faucet hollow-fibre filters for water ultrafiltration.

AIM: To compare point-of-use filters applied to cold water within their period of validity.

METHODS: Faucet hollow-fibre filters (filter A), shower hollow-fibre filters (filter B) and faucet membrane filters (filter C) were contaminated in two different sets of tests with standard bacterial strains (Pseudomonas aeruginosa DSM 939 and Brevundimonas diminuta ATCC 19146) and installed at points-of-use. Every day, from each faucet, 100 L of water was flushed. Before and after flushing, 250 mL of water was collected and analysed for microbiology.

FINDINGS: There was a high capacity of microbial retention from filter C; filter B released only low Brevundimonas spp. counts; filter A showed poor retention of both micro-organisms.

CONCLUSION: Hollow-fibre filters did not show good micro-organism retention. All point-of-use filters require an appropriate maintenance of structural parameters to ensure their efficiency.

Eliminating Naegleria fowleri from Drinking Water Biofilms

Miller HC, Morgan MJ, Wylie JT, Kaksonen AH, Sutton D, Braun K, Puzon GJ. Elimination of Naegleria fowleri from bulk water and biofilm in an operational drinking water distribution system. Water research. 2016 Nov 27;110:15-26. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2016.11.061.

Global incidence of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis cases associated with domestic drinking water is increasing. The need for understanding disinfectant regimes capable of eliminating the causative microorganism, Naegleria fowleri, from bulk water and pipe wall biofilms is critical. This field study demonstrated the successful elimination of N. fowleri from the bulk water and pipe wall biofilm of a persistently colonised operational drinking water distribution system (DWDS), and the prevention of further re-colonisation. A new chlorination unit was installed along the pipe line to boost the free chlorine residual to combat the persistence of N. fowleri. Biofilm and bulk water were monitored prior to and after re-chlorination (RCl), pre-rechlorination (pre-RCl) and post-rechlorination (post-RCl), respectively, for one year. A constant free chlorine concentration of > 1 mg/L resulted in the elimination of N. fowleri from both the bulk water and biofilm at the post-RCl site. Other amoeba species were detected during the first two months of chlorination, but all amoebae were eliminated from both the bulk water and biofilm at post-RCl after 60 days of chlorination with free chlorine concentrations > 1 mg/L. In addition, a dynamic change in the biofilm community composition and a four log reduction in biofilm cell density occurred post-RCl. The pre-RCl site continued to be seasonally colonised by N. fowleri, but the constant free chlorine residual of > 1 mg/L prevented N. fowleri from recolonising the bulk and pipe wall biofilm at the post-RCl site. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate successful removal of N. fowleri from both the bulk and pipe wall biofilm and prevention of re-colonisation of N. fowleri in an operational DWDS. The findings of this study are of importance to water utilities in addressing the presence of N. fowleri and other amoeba in susceptible DWDSs.

Microbial Risk Assessment for Drinking Water Regulation, Argentina

Rodriguez-Alvarez MS, Weir MH, Pope JM, Seghezzo L,  Rajal VB,  Salusso MM, Moraña LB. Development of a relative risk model for drinking water regulation and design recommendations for a peri urban region of Argentina. International Journal Of Hygiene And Environmental Health. 2015 Oct; Vol. 218 (7), pp. 627-38. 

Argentina is a developing Latin American nation that has an aim of achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for potable water supplies. Their current regulations however, limit the continued development of improved potable water quality and infrastructure from a microbiological viewpoint. This is since the current regulations are focused solely to pathogenic Eschericia coli (E. coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) and fecal indicators. Regions of lower socioeconomic status such as peri-urban areas are particularly at risk due to lessened financial and political ability to influence their environmental quality and infrastructure needs. Therefore, a combined microbiological sampling, analysis and quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) modeling effort were engaged for a peri-urban area of Salta Argentina. Drinking water samples from home taps were analyzed and a QMRA model was developed, results of which were compared against a general 1:10,000 risk level for lack of a current Argentinian standard. This QMRA model was able to demonstrate that the current regulations were being achieved for E. coli but were less than acceptable for P. aeruginosa in some instances. Appropriate health protections are far from acceptable for Giardia for almost all water sources. Untreated water sources were sampled and analyzed then QMRA modeled as well, since a significant number of the community (∼9%) still use them for potable water supplies. For untreated water E. coli risks were near 1:10,000, however, P. aeruginosa and Giardia risks failed to be acceptable in almost all instances. The QMRA model and microbiological analyses demonstrate the need for improved regulatory efforts for the peri-urban area along with improved investment in their water infrastructure.

Factors Influencing Bacterial Diversity in Municipal Drinking Waters, Ohio

Stanish LF, Hull NM, Robertson CE, Harris JK, Stevens MJ, Spear JR, et al. (2016) Factors Influencing Bacterial Diversity and Community Composition in Municipal Drinking Waters in the Ohio River Basin, USA. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0157966. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0157966

The composition and metabolic activities of microbes in drinking water distribution systems can affect water quality and distribution system integrity. In order to understand regional variations in drinking water microbiology in the upper Ohio River watershed, the chemical and microbiological constituents of 17 municipal distribution systems were assessed. While sporadic variations were observed, the microbial diversity was generally dominated by fewer than 10 taxa, and was driven by the amount of disinfectant residual in the water. Overall, Mycobacterium spp. (Actinobacteria), MLE1-12 (phylum Cyanobacteria), Methylobacterium spp., and sphingomonads were the dominant taxa. Shifts in community composition from Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria to Firmicutes and Gammaproteobacteria were associated with higher residual chlorine. Alpha- and beta-diversity were higher in systems with higher chlorine loads, which may reflect changes in the ecological processes structuring the communities under different levels of oxidative stress. These results expand the assessment of microbial diversity in municipal distribution systems and demonstrate the value of considering ecological theory to understand the processes controlling microbial makeup. Such understanding may inform the management of municipal drinking water resources.


Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence Genes in Coliform Water Isolates

Stange C, Sidhu JP, Tiehm A, Toze S. Antibiotic resistance and virulence genes in coliform water isolates. International journal of hygiene and environmental health. 2016 Jul 26. pii: S1438-4639(16)30185-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.07.015.

Widespread fecal pollution of surface water may present a major health risk and a significant pathway for dissemination of antibiotic resistance bacteria. The River Rhine is one of the longest and most important rivers in Europe and an important raw water source for drinking water production. A total of 100 coliform isolates obtained from River Rhine (Germany) were examined for their susceptibility to seven antimicrobial agents. Resistances against amoxicillin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and tetracycline were detected in 48%, 11% and 9% of isolates respectively. The antibiotic resistance could be traced back to the resistance genes blaTEM, blaSHV, ampC, sul1, sul2, dfrA1, tet(A) and tet(B). Whereby, the ampC gene represents a special case, because its presence is not inevitably linked to a phenotypic antibiotic resistance. Multiple antibiotics resistance was often accompanied by the occurrence of class 1 or 2 integrons. E. coli isolates belonging to phylogenetic groups A and B1 (commensal) were more predominant (57%) compared to B2 and D groups (43%) which are known to carry virulent genes. Additionally, six E. coli virulence genes were also detected. However, the prevalence of virulence genes in the E. coli isolates was low (not exceeding 4.3% per gene) and no diarrheagenic E. coli pathotypes were detected. This study demonstrates that surface water is an important reservoir of ARGs for a number of antibiotic classes such as sulfonamide, trimethoprim, beta-lactam-antibiotics and tetracycline. The occurrence of antibiotic resistance in coliform bacteria isolated from River Rhine provides evidence for the need to develop management strategies to limit the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in aquatic environment.