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Open AccessArticle

Assessing the Risk of Legionella Infection through Showering with Untreated Rain Cistern Water in a Tropical Environment

1
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
2
Urban Planning and Public Policy, School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Varvara A. Mouchtouri and Konstantin Korotkov
Water 2021, 13(7), 889; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070889
Received: 29 January 2021 / Revised: 8 March 2021 / Accepted: 19 March 2021 / Published: 24 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Quality and the Public Health)
In September 2017, two category-5 hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through the Caribbean Sea in what is now known as the region’s most active hurricane season on record, leaving disastrous effects on infrastructure and people’s lives. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, rain cisterns are commonly used for harvesting roof-top rainwater for household water needs. High prevalence of Legionella spp. was found in the cistern water after the hurricanes. This study carried out a quantitative microbial risk assessment to estimate the health risks associated with Legionella through inhalation of aerosols from showering using water from cisterns after the hurricanes. Legionella concentrations were modeled based on the Legionella detected in post-hurricane water samples and reported total viable heterotrophic bacterial counts in cistern water. The inhalation dose was modeled using a Monte Carlo simulation of shower water aerosol concentrations according to shower water temperature, shower duration, inhalation rates, and shower flow rates. The risk of infection was calculated based on a previously established dose–response model from Legionella infection of guinea pigs. The results indicated median daily risk of 2.5 × 10−6 to 2.5 × 10−4 depending on shower temperature, and median annual risk of 9.1 × 10−4 to 1.4 × 10−2. Results were discussed and compared with household survey results for a better understanding of local perceived risk versus objective risk surrounding local water supplies. View Full-Text
Keywords: quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA); roof-top harvested rainwater; hurricanes; aerosol; risk perception; risk management quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA); roof-top harvested rainwater; hurricanes; aerosol; risk perception; risk management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Quon, H.; Allaire, M.; Jiang, S.C. Assessing the Risk of Legionella Infection through Showering with Untreated Rain Cistern Water in a Tropical Environment. Water 2021, 13, 889. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070889

AMA Style

Quon H, Allaire M, Jiang SC. Assessing the Risk of Legionella Infection through Showering with Untreated Rain Cistern Water in a Tropical Environment. Water. 2021; 13(7):889. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070889

Chicago/Turabian Style

Quon, Hunter; Allaire, Maura; Jiang, Sunny C. 2021. "Assessing the Risk of Legionella Infection through Showering with Untreated Rain Cistern Water in a Tropical Environment" Water 13, no. 7: 889. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070889

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