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Open AccessArticle

Muddying the Waters: A New Area of Concern for Drinking Water Contamination in Cameroon

1
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Maroua, Maroua BP 46, Far North Region, Cameroon
3
Department of Food Science and Technology, the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
4
Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
5
Department of Anthropology, the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
6
Department of Mathematics, the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 12454-12472; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph111212454
Received: 5 September 2014 / Revised: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 14 November 2014 / Published: 28 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
In urban Maroua, Cameroon, improved drinking water sources are available to a large majority of the population, yet this water is frequently distributed through informal distribution systems and stored in home containers (canaries), leaving it vulnerable to contamination. We assessed where contamination occurs within the distribution system, determined potential sources of environmental contamination, and investigated potential pathogens. Gastrointestinal health status (785 individuals) was collected via health surveys. Drinking water samples were collected from drinking water sources and canaries. Escherichia coli and total coliform levels were evaluated and molecular detection was performed to measure human-associated faecal marker, HF183; tetracycline-resistance gene, tetQ; Campylobacter spp.; and Staphylococcus aureus. Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate the relationship between microbial contamination and gastrointestinal illness. Canari samples had higher levels of contamination than source samples. HF183 and tetQ were detected in home and source samples. An inverse relationship was found between tetQ and E. coli. Presence of tetQ with lower E. coli levels increased the odds of reported diarrhoeal illness than E. coli levels alone. Further work is warranted to better assess the relationship between antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and other pathogens in micro-ecosystems within canaries and this relationship’s impact on drinking water quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: diarrhoeal illness; drinking water quality; microbial source tracking; drinking water storage; drinking water distribution diarrhoeal illness; drinking water quality; microbial source tracking; drinking water storage; drinking water distribution
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Profitós, J.M.H.; Mouhaman, A.; Lee, S.; Garabed, R.; Moritz, M.; Piperata, B.; Tien, J.; Bisesi, M.; Lee, J. Muddying the Waters: A New Area of Concern for Drinking Water Contamination in Cameroon. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 12454-12472.

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