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Sci Data. 2017 Oct 10;4:170135. doi: 10.1038/sdata.2017.135.

Chemical, microbial and antibiotic susceptibility analyses of groundwater after a major flood event in Chennai.

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Department of Geology, Anna University, Sardar Patel Road, Guindy, Chennai 600025, India.
Centre for Food Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Anna University, Sardar Patel Road, Guindy, Chennai 600025, India.
Department of Hydrology, University of Zululand, Kwa-Dlangezwa 3886, South Africa.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576, Singapore.


During floods, human exposure to pathogens through contaminated water leads to the outbreak of epidemic diseases. This research presents the first extensive assessment of surface and groundwater samples collected immediately after a flood (December 2015) and post-flood (April 2016) from the Adyar River of Chennai, a major city in India, for major ions, trace metals, bacterial population, and pathogens. Severe rains in a short period of time resulted in flooding which inundated the wells, allowing the entry of sewage contaminated river water into the groundwater zone. This has led to bacterial counts and chemical ions exceeding Bureau of Indian Standard's recommended limits in most flood affected areas. Pathogens isolated from the groundwater showed resistance to antibiotics, namely ceftriaxone, doxycycline and nalidixic acid. However, they were sensitive to chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, and tetracycline. Determining the antibiotic susceptibility of pathogens will help in the treatment of humans affected by contaminated water through an appropriate selection of prescribed medication.

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