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Municipal Wastewater Effluents as a Source of Listerial Pathogens in the Aquatic Milieu of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa: A Concern of Public Health Importance

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Odjadjare, Emmanuel E.O.; Obi, Larry C.; Okoh, Anthony I.
Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume: 7
Page(s): 2376-2394
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7026
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Africa
Subject(s): water quality
environmental change
Abstract: "We evaluated the effluent quality of an urban wastewater treatment facility in South Africa and its impact on the receiving watershed for a period of 12 months. The prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of potential Listeria pathogens (L. ivanovii and L. innocua) and the physicochemical quality of the treated wastewater effluent was assessed, with a view to ascertain the potential health and environmental hazards of the discharged effluent. Total listerial density varied between 2.9 × 100 and 1.2 × 105 cfu/mL; free living Listeria species were more prevalent (84%), compared to Listeria species attached to planktons (59–75%). The treated effluent quality fell short of recommended standards for turbidity, dissolved oxygen, chemical oxygen demand, nitrite, phosphate and Listeria density; while pH, temperature, total dissolved solids and nitrate contents were compliant with target quality limits after treatment. The Listeria isolates (23) were sensitive to three (15%) of the 20 test antibiotics, and showed varying (4.5–91%) levels of resistance to 17 antibiotics. Of seven resistance gene markers assayed, only sulII genes were detected in five (22%) Listeria strains. The study demonstrates a potential negative impact of the wastewater effluent on the receiving environment and suggests a serious public health implication for those who depend on the receiving watershed for drinking and other purposes."

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