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Human Health Risks Associated with Recreational Waters: Preliminary Approach of Integrating Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment with Microbial Source Tracking

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Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A & M AgriLife Research, 2260 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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UTHealth School of Public Health El Paso Campus, 5130 Gateway Blvd. East, El Paso, TX 79905, USA
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Oklahoma Water Resources Center, 139 Agricultural Hall, Stillwater, OK 74708, USA
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Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Service, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, 370 Olsen Blvd., 2474 TAMU, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A & M University, 2117 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, 370 Olsen Blvd., 2474 TAMU, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
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Engineering Consultant, College Station, TX 77845, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(2), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020327
Received: 27 November 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 20 January 2020 / Published: 23 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Systems—Quality and Contamination)
Gastrointestinal (GI) illness risks associated with exposure to waters impacted by human and nonhuman fecal sources were estimated using quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA). Microbial source tracking (MST) results had identified Escherichia coli (E. coli) contributors to the waterbody as human and unidentified (10%), cattle and domestic animals (25%), and wildlife (65%) in a rural watershed. The illness risks associated with ingestion during recreation were calculated by assigning reference pathogens for each contributing source and using pathogen dose–response relationships. The risk of GI illness was calculated for a specific sampling site with a geometric mean of E. coli of 163 colony forming units (cfu) 100 mL−1, and the recreational standard of E. coli, 126 cfu 100 mL−1. While the most frequent sources of fecal indicator bacteria at the sampling site were nonhuman, the risk of illness from norovirus, the reference pathogen representing human waste, contributed the greatest risk to human health. This study serves as a preliminary review regarding the potential for incorporating results from library-dependent MST to inform a QMRA for recreational waters. The simulations indicated that identifying the sources contributing to the bacterial impairment is critical to estimate the human health risk associated with recreation in a waterbody. View Full-Text
Keywords: nonhuman fecal sources; recreational waterbody; reference pathogens; watershed management nonhuman fecal sources; recreational waterbody; reference pathogens; watershed management
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Gitter, A.; Mena, K.D.; Wagner, K.L.; Boellstorff, D.E.; Borel, K.E.; Gregory, L.F.; Gentry, T.J.; Karthikeyan, R. Human Health Risks Associated with Recreational Waters: Preliminary Approach of Integrating Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment with Microbial Source Tracking. Water 2020, 12, 327.

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