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Water Res. 2009 Nov;43(19):4918-28. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.03.041. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

Prevalence and occurrence of zoonotic bacterial pathogens in surface waters determined by quantitative PCR.

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Department of Natural Resources and Water, 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Brisbane 4068, Australia.


The prevalence and concentrations of Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella spp. and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) were investigated in surface waters in Brisbane, Australia using quantitative PCR (qPCR) based methodologies. Water samples were collected from Brisbane City Botanic Gardens (CBG) Pond, and two urban tidal creeks (i.e., Oxley Creek and Blunder Creek). Of the 32 water samples collected, 8 (25%), 1 (3%), 9 (28%), 14 (44%), and 15 (47%) were positive for C. jejuni mapA, Salmonella invA, EHEC O157 LPS, EHEC VT1, and EHEC VT2 genes, respectively. The presence/absence of the potential pathogens did not correlate with either E. coli or enterococci concentrations as determined by binary logistic regression. In conclusion, the high prevalence, and concentrations of potential zoonotic pathogens along with the concentrations of one or more fecal indicators in surface water samples indicate a poor level of microbial quality of surface water, and could represent a significant health risk to users. The results from the current study would provide valuable information to the water quality managers in terms of minimizing the risk from pathogens in surface waters.

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