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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 Jul;62(7):2508-12.

A simple filtration method to remove plankton-associated Vibrio cholerae in raw water supplies in developing countries.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Maryland, College Park, USA.


Plankton to which cells of Vibrio cholerae O1 and/or O139 were attached was introduced into 0.5% Instant Ocean microcosms maintained at 25 degrees C. The bulk of the plankton and associated particulates was removed with a filter constructed from either nylon net and one of several different types of sari material, the latter being very inexpensive and readily available in villages in Bangladesh, where V. cholerae is endemic. V. cholerae was enumerated before and after filtration to evaluate the efficiency of the filtration procedure. The results obtained indicate that 99% of V. cholerae, i.e., those cells attached to plankton, were removed from the water samples. Epidemic strains of V. cholerae O1 and O139 from various geographical sources, including Bangladesh, Brazil, India, and Mexico, were included in the experiments. Removal of vibrios from water by this simple filtration method was found to yield consistent results with all strains examined in this study. Thus, it is concluded that a simple filtration procedure involving the use of domestic sari material can reduce the number of cholera vibrios attached to plankton in raw water from ponds and rivers commonly used for drinking. Since untreated water from such sources serves as drinking water for millions of people living in developing countries (e.g., Bangladesh), filtration should prove effective at reducing the incidence and severity of outbreaks, especially in places that lack fuel wood for boiling water and/or municipal water treatment plants. The results of this study provide the basis for determining such reductions, which are to be carried out in the near future.

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