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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 320; doi:10.3390/ijerph14030320

Abundance of Pathogenic Escherichia coli Virulence-Associated Genes in Well and Borehole Water Used for Domestic Purposes in a Peri-Urban Community of South Africa

1
Departments of Biotechnology, Vaal University of Technology, Private Bag X021, Andries Potgieter Blvd, Vanderbijlpark 1911, South Africa
2
Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Warish Ahmed and David J. Beale
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 7 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract

In the absence of pipe-borne water, many people in Africa, especially in rural communities, depend on alternative water sources such as wells, boreholes and rivers for household and personal hygiene. Poor maintenance and nearby pit latrines, however, lead to microbial pollution of these sources. We evaluated the abundance of Escherichia coli and the prevalence of pathogenic E. coli virulence genes in water from wells, boreholes and a river in a South African peri-urban community. Monthly samples were collected between August 2015 and November 2016. In all, 144 water samples were analysed for E. coli using the Colilert 18 system. Virulence genes (eagg, eaeA, stx1, stx2, flichH7, ST, ipaH, ibeA) were investigated using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Mean E. coli counts ranged between 0 and 443.1 Most Probable Number (MPN)/100 mL of water sample. Overall, 99.3% of samples were positive for at least one virulence gene studied, with flicH7 being the most detected gene (81/140; 57.6%) and the stx2 gene the least detected gene (8/140; 5.7%). Both intestinal and extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli genes were detected. The detection of virulence genes in these water sources suggests the presence of potentially pathogenic E. coli strains and is a public health concern. View Full-Text
Keywords: microbial quality; pathogenic Escherichia coli; virulence genes; boreholes; wells; public health microbial quality; pathogenic Escherichia coli; virulence genes; boreholes; wells; public health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Abia, A.L.K.; Schaefer, L.; Ubomba-Jaswa, E.; Le Roux, W. Abundance of Pathogenic Escherichia coli Virulence-Associated Genes in Well and Borehole Water Used for Domestic Purposes in a Peri-Urban Community of South Africa. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 320.

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