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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2004 Jun;15(3):175-80.

Emerging waterborne pathogens: can we kill them all?

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  • 1United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Office of Science and Technology, Washington, DC 20460, USA.


The rapid emergence of Cryptosporidium parvum and Escherichia coli 0157:H7 have created a threat to the drinking water industry and there is a growing need to develop a strategy for recognizing potential emerging waterborne pathogens. Globalization of trade, changing population demographics and changes in treatment technology have been driving factors in the emergence of these new pathogens. An understanding of disinfectant action and microbial resistance to treatment processes is needed to better identify those pathogens likely to be of greatest concern. Recent research on microbial resistance to treatment and disinfection demonstrates that the microbial surface structure and composition and the nature of the genome are key to determining the potential for waterborne transmission of emerging pathogens.

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