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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1992 Jul-Aug;86(4):448-50.

An evaluation of the hydrogen sulphide water screening test and coliform counts for water quality assessment in rural Malaysia.

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Tropical Health Program, University of Queensland, Australia.


The H2S water screening test and the membrane filtration faecal coliform count were compared with Escherichia coli counts for water samples collected from household water sources and domestic drinking water in rural Malaysia. Water samples were taken from 151 wells, 44 taps supplying water from the treated municipal supply and 192 domestic stored water supplies. E. coli were detected in 20% of the samples (42% of wells, 7% of tap water and 6% of drinking water). Excellent correlation (Spearman's rank correlation rs = 0.93) was found between the faecal coliform and E. coli counts for all sample types. The H2S method was poorly correlated whether read at 18 or 30 h. False positive rates were highest for well water, and false negative rates were highest for both well and drinking water samples, with low E. coli counts. The faecal coliform test was an excellent predictor of the presence of E. coli in these water samples, while the H2S test was very inadequate.

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