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Investigating the occurrence and survival of Vibrio cholerae in selected surface water sources in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa
Expanded Title:The Project investigated the occurrence of toxigenic and non-toxigenic Vibrio cholerae in the Msunduzi River (located in the Msunduzi Local Municipality) and the Isipingo and Umlazi Rivers (located within the Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality) in the Province of KwaZulu Natal. The study used culture dependent and culture independent real time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods to detect and identify toxigenic and non-toxigenic V. cholerae presence in the selected rivers. Different niches that may facilitate survival of V. cholerae in the rivers were identified and sampled. These included zooplankton, phytoplankton, amoeba, invertebrates, animal stools (found near the river), sediments and the river water itself. The results from the study indicate culture dependent method proved to be the most effective/ reliable methodology for detection and identification of V. cholerae from environmental samples. The non-toxigenic V. cholerae was detected in water samples (free-floating form) and attached to plankton, invertebrates and the sediment compartment of the rivers but was not detected in amoeba and cow stools samples. Although the study did not determine the prevalence and influence of seasonality, the non-toxigenic V. cholerae was found to occur throughout the 14 months of sampling. Toxigenic V. cholerae was not detected in any of the samples throughout the sampling period. There were observations made of blocked sewer mains being discharged into the environment close to the stream and this resulted in high total coliform and Escherichia coli counts from the selected rivers under study. Using the WRC/DWF guideline (1998) the E. coli and total coliform counts obtained for all the water samples would pose a serious health impact on the humans. Furthermore, even though the non-toxigenic V. cholerae detected in this study are not associated with cholera, they are associated with sporadic cases of gastroenteritis, septicaemia and extra-intestinal infections. Thus, the non-toxigenic V. cholerae strains detected and identified using the methods described in this study may have the ability to cause infections in sensitive population groups (e.g. immune-compromised individuals). There is a need to prevent blocked sewage mains from discharging into the environment as this may result in bacterial pathogens being deposited in the river water and subsequently being ingested by unsuspecting communities. The dwellings in this community use the river water mostly for recreational, cultural and religious activities. The community should be warned of the health risk associated with using untreated river water for the above mentioned activities.
Date Published:01/07/2014
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Drinking water - Water supply
Document Keywords:Surface Water, Water Quality
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2168/1/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0558-5
Authors:Ntema VM; Potgieter N; van Blerk GN; Barnard TG
Project No:K5/2168
Organizations:University of Johannesburg; University of Venda; East Rand Water Care Company
Document Size:883 KB
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