Widespread outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza occurred in South Korea during 2010. In response to the culling of many animals to attenuate the spread of disease, South Korea used mass burial sites to dispose of the large number of carcasses; consequently,
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Widespread outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza occurred in South Korea during 2010. In response to the culling of many animals to attenuate the spread of disease, South Korea used mass burial sites to dispose of the large number of carcasses; consequently, concerns about groundwater contamination by leachate from these burial sites are increasing. Groundwater is one of the main sources of drinking water, and its cleanliness is directly related to public health. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the safety of groundwater around the burial sites (total of 600 sites). A total of 1,200 groundwater samples were collected though the country, and microbial analysis was conducted during two time periods: during the spring (n
= 600; April to June 2012) and after rainfall (n
= 600; August to October, 2012; fall). Fecal coliform and Escherichia coli
were detected in 173 (14.4%) and 85 (7.1%) of the 1,200 samples, respectively. Salmonella
spp. and Shigella
spp. each were detected only once (0.083%). Clostridium perfringens
was detected from 7 groundwater samples (0.583%), and E
O157:H7 was not detected. With respect to norovirus, only the GII type was detected from six groundwater samples (0.5%), and enterovirus was detected in 15 groundwater samples (1.25%). The frequency of E
that we detected was lower than that found in previous studies conducted in South Korea, but we detected higher frequency of fecal coliform than that observed in a previous report. The contamination frequencies of Salmonella
spp. and Shigella
spp. were very low, but C
, which could be an indicator of fecal pollution, was detected in seven regions. Overall, the results of the present study indicate a low possibility of contamination from burial sites. However, consistent monitoring is required to prevent microbial contamination of groundwater near the burial sites.