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Microcystin Incidence in the Drinking Water of Mozambique: Challenges for Public Health Protection

CIIMAR/CIMAR—Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto, Avenida General Norton de Matos, 4450-238 Matosinhos, Portugal
Institute of Biomedical Science Abel Salazar, University of Porto, R. Jorge de Viterbo Ferreira 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Eduardo Mondlane University, Av. Julius Nyerere, n 3453, Campus Principal, Maputo 257, Mozambique
Faculty of Science, University of Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 4069-007 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2020, 12(6), 368;
Received: 6 May 2020 / Revised: 29 May 2020 / Accepted: 31 May 2020 / Published: 2 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Algal Toxins: Monitoring and Toxicity Profile)
Microcystins (MCs) are cyanotoxins produced mainly by freshwater cyanobacteria, which constitute a threat to public health due to their negative effects on humans, such as gastroenteritis and related diseases, including death. In Mozambique, where only 50% of the people have access to safe drinking water, this hepatotoxin is not monitored, and consequently, the population may be exposed to MCs. The few studies done in Maputo and Gaza provinces indicated the occurrence of MC-LR, -YR, and -RR at a concentration ranging from 6.83 to 7.78 µg·L−1, which are very high, around 7 times above than the maximum limit (1 µg·L−1) recommended by WHO. The potential MCs-producing in the studied sites are mainly Microcystis species. These data from Mozambique and from surrounding countries (South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania) evidence the need to implement an operational monitoring program of MCs in order to reduce or avoid the possible cases of intoxications since the drinking water quality control tests recommended by the Ministry of Health do not include an MC test. To date, no data of water poisoning episodes recorded were associated with MCs presence in the water. However, this might be underestimated due to a lack of monitoring facilities and/or a lack of public health staff trained for recognizing symptoms of MCs intoxication since the presence of high MCs concentration was reported in Maputo and Gaza provinces. View Full-Text
Keywords: drinking water quality; microcystin; Mozambique; public health drinking water quality; microcystin; Mozambique; public health
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Tamele, I.J.; Vasconcelos, V. Microcystin Incidence in the Drinking Water of Mozambique: Challenges for Public Health Protection. Toxins 2020, 12, 368.

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