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Mar Pollut Bull. 2001 Apr;42(4):286-93.

Assessment and impact of microbial fecal pollution and human enteric pathogens in a coastal community.

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College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 7th Ave S, St Petersburg, FL 33701, USA.


The goals of this study were to assess watersheds impacted by high densities of OSDS (onsite sewage disposal systems) for evidence of fecal contamination and evaluate the occurrence of human pathogens in coastal waters off west Florida. Eleven stations (representing six watersheds) were intensively sampled for microbial indicators of fecal pollution (fecal coliform bacteria, enterococci, Clostridium perfringens and coliphage) and the human enteric pathogens, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and enteroviruses during the summer rainy season (May-September 1996). Levels of all indicators ranged between < 5 and > 4000 CFU/100 ml. Cryptosporidium and Giardia were detected infrequently (6.8% and 2.3% of samples tested positive, respectively). Conversely, infectious enteroviruses were detected at low levels in 5 of the 6 watersheds sampled. Using cluster analysis, sites were grouped into two categories, high and low risks, based on combined levels of indicators. These results suggest that stations of highest pollution risk were located within areas of high OSDS densities. Furthermore, data indicate a subsurface transport of contaminated water to surface waters. The high prevalence of enteroviruses throughout the study area suggests a chronic pollution problem and potential risk to recreational swimmers in and around Sarasota Bay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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