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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Apr 1;44(7):2286-91. doi: 10.1021/es903523q.

Assessing pathogen risk to swimmers at non-sewage impacted recreational beaches.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, Ohio 45268, USA.


The risk of gastrointestinal illness to swimmers from fresh sewage and non-sewage fecal sources at recreational beaches was predicted using quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA). The QMRA estimated the probability of illness for accidental ingestion of recreational water with a specific concentration of fecal indicator bacteria, here the geometric mean enterococci limit of 35 cfu 100 mL(-1), from either a mixture of sources or an individual source. Using seagulls as an example non-sewage fecal source, the predicted median probability of illness was less than the illness benchmark of 0.01. When the fecal source was changed to poorly treated sewage, a relativity small difference between the median probability of illness and the illness benchmark was predicted. For waters impacted by a mixture of seagull and sewage waste, the dominant source of fecal indicator was not always the predicted dominant source of risk.

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