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Microbiological Assessment of Tap Water Following the 2016 Louisiana Flooding

Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041273
Received: 26 November 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2020 / Accepted: 9 February 2020 / Published: 17 February 2020
Floods are a prominent risk factor in the world of public health, as there is a risk of dispersal of harmful biological and chemical contaminants in floodwater. As climate change increases, the occurrence of natural disasters and risk of adverse health outcomes due to flash flooding also increases. Fecal indicator bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Enterococci, are often encountered in contaminated floodwater and can cause gastrointestinal illnesses as well as a variety of infections. In August 2016, East Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes in Louisiana suffered heavy floods due to intense rainfall. No study of water quality during flooding has been conducted previously in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Twenty-three pre-flush and post-flush water samples were collected immediately from accessible homes that had been affected by the floods in order to quantify concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria. These samples were analyzed for the presence of E. coli and Enterococci through both quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and the IDEXX enzyme substrate method. The qPCR results indicated that 30% of the samples contained Enterococci and 61% of the samples contained E. coli, with the highest concentrations found in the pre-flush outdoor hose and the pre-flush kitchen tap. The IDEXX method yielded total coliforms in 65% of the samples, E. coli in 4%, and Enterococci in 35%, with the highest concentrations in the pre-flush outdoor faucet and the pre-flush post-filtration kitchen tap. Physical parameters including temperature, barometer pressure, dissolved oxygen, oxidation reduction potential, pH, conductivity, and salinity of these samples were also recorded. Of these parameters, conductivity and salinity were significant, suggesting they may positively influence E. coli and Enterococci growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: floodwater; fecal contamination; E. coli; fecal indicator bacteria floodwater; fecal contamination; E. coli; fecal indicator bacteria
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MDPI and ACS Style

Phan, N.K.; Sherchan, S.P. Microbiological Assessment of Tap Water Following the 2016 Louisiana Flooding. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1273. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041273

AMA Style

Phan NK, Sherchan SP. Microbiological Assessment of Tap Water Following the 2016 Louisiana Flooding. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(4):1273. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041273

Chicago/Turabian Style

Phan, Nati K.; Sherchan, Samendra P. 2020. "Microbiological Assessment of Tap Water Following the 2016 Louisiana Flooding" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 4: 1273. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041273

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