Tag Archives: opportunistic pathogens

Opportunistic pathogens in drinking water treatment plants

Wang H, Xu J, Tang W, Li H, Xia S, Zhao J, Zhang W, Yang Y. Removal Efficacy of Opportunistic Pathogens and Bacterial Community Dynamics in Two Drinking Water Treatment Trains. Small. 2018 Dec 7:e1804436. doi: 10.1002/smll.201804436.

Drinking water treatment processes (DWTPs) impact pathogen colonization and microbial communities in finished water; however, their efficacies against opportunistic pathogens are not fully understood. In this study, the effects of treatment steps on the removal of Legionella spp., Legionella pneumophila, nontuberculous mycobacteria, Mycobacterium avium, and two amoeba hosts (Vermamoeba vermiformis, Acanthamoeba) are evaluated in two parallel trains of DWTPs equipped with different pretreatment units. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrates significantly reduced numbers of total bacteria, Legionella, and mycobacteria during ozonation, followed by a rebound in granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration, whereas sand filtration exerts an overarching effect in removing microorganisms in both treatment trains. V. vermiformis is more prevalent in biofilm (34%) than water samples (7.7%), while Acanthamoeba is not found in the two trains of DWTPs. Illumina sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes reveals significant community shifts at different treatment steps, as well as distinct bacterial community structures in water and biofilm samples in parallel units (e.g., ozonation, GAC, sand filtration) between the two trains (analysis of similarities (ANOSIM), p < 0.05), implying the potential influence of different pretreatment steps in shaping the downstream microbiome. Overall, the results provide insights to mitigation of opportunistic pathogens and engineer approaches for managing bacterial communities in DWTPs.

Monitoring Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing

Wang H, Bédard E, Prévost M, Camper AK, Hill VR, Pruden A. Methodological approaches for monitoring opportunistic pathogens in premise plumbing: A review. Water research. 2017 Mar 25;117:68-86. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.03.046.

Opportunistic premise (i.e., building) plumbing pathogens (OPPPs, e.g., Legionella pneumophila, Mycobacterium avium complex, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acanthamoeba, and Naegleria fowleri) are a significant and growing source of disease. Because OPPPs establish and grow as part of the native drinking water microbiota, they do not correspond to fecal indicators, presenting a major challenge to standard drinking water monitoring practices. Further, different OPPPs present distinct requirements for sampling, preservation, and analysis, creating an impediment to their parallel detection. The aim of this critical review is to evaluate the state of the science of monitoring OPPPs and identify a path forward for their parallel detection and quantification in a manner commensurate with the need for reliable data that is informative to risk assessment and mitigation. Water and biofilm sampling procedures, as well as factors influencing sample representativeness and detection sensitivity, are critically evaluated with respect to the five representative bacterial and amoebal OPPPs noted above. Available culturing and molecular approaches are discussed in terms of their advantages, limitations, and applicability. Knowledge gaps and research needs towards standardized approaches are identified.

Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing

Falkinham JO III, Hilborn ED, Arduino MJ, Pruden A, Edwards MA. 2015. Epidemiology and ecology of opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens: Legionella pneumophila, Mycobacterium avium, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Environmental Health Perspectives 123:749–758; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1408692

Background: Legionella pneumophila, Mycobacterium avium, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens (OPPPs) that persist and grow in household plumbing, habitats they share with humans. Infections caused by these OPPPs involve individuals with preexisting risk factors and frequently require hospitalization.

Objectives: The objectives of this report are to alert professionals of the impact of OPPPs, the fact that 30% of the population may be exposed to OPPPs, and the need to develop means to reduce OPPP exposure. We herein present a review of the epidemiology and ecology of these three bacterial OPPPs, specifically to identify common and unique features.

Methods: A Water Research Foundation–sponsored workshop gathered experts from across the United States to review the characteristics of OPPPs, identify problems, and develop a list of research priorities to address critical knowledge gaps with respect to increasing OPPP-associated disease.

Discussion: OPPPs share the common characteristics of disinfectant resistance and growth in biofilms in water distribution systems or premise plumbing. Thus, they share a number of habitats with humans (e.g., showers) that can lead to exposure and infection. The frequency of OPPPinfected individuals is rising and will likely continue to rise as the number of at-risk individuals is increasing. Improved reporting of OPPP disease and increased understanding of the genetic, physiologic, and structural characteristics governing the persistence and growth of OPPPs in drinking water distribution systems and premise plumbing is needed.

Conclusions: Because broadly effective community-level engineering interventions for the control of OPPPs have yet to be identified, and because the number of at-risk individuals will continue to rise, it is likely that OPPP-related infections will continue to increase. However, it is possible that individuals can take measures (e.g., raise hot water heater temperatures and filter water) to reduce home exposures.