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.
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