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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Mar 15;41(6):1856-62.

Detection of Bacteroidales fecal indicators and the zoonotic pathogens E. coli 0157:H7, salmonella, and campylobacter in river water.

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Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.


Bacteroidales host-specific PCR offers a rapid method of diagnosing fecal pollution in water and identifying sources of input. To assess human health risks from exposure to fecal pathogens, however, Bacteroidales markers should be detectable when pathogens are present. To determine if Bacteroidales general, human-, ruminant-, and swine-specific markers correlate with certain fecal pathogens, we conducted a retrospective study on water samples for which the presence of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and Campylobacter spp. had been determined. We found a positive relationship between detection of the Bacteroidales general fecal marker and presence of the pathogens. Detection of ruminant-specific markers predicted E. coli O157: H7 occurrence. There was a significant increase in the likelihood of detecting Salmonella when a ruminant marker was present, and Campylobacter spp. when human markers were present. For pathogens such as E. coli O157: H7 that are strongly associated with particular hosts, Bacteroidales host-specific markers can estimate the likelihood of pathogen occurrence, enabling more accurate health risk assessments.

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