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Open AccessArticle

Distribution and Public Health Significance of Vibrio Pathogens Recovered from Selected Treated Effluents in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

1
SAMRC Microbial Water Quality Monitoring Centre, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, South Africa
2
Applied and Environmental Microbiology Research Group, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, South Africa
3
Department of Microbiology, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo-State P. M. B 001, Nigeria
4
Department of Microbiology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife P. M. B. 13, Nigeria
5
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah P. O. Box 555588, United Arab Emirates
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Milou M.L. Dingemans
Water 2021, 13(7), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070932
Received: 19 February 2021 / Revised: 11 March 2021 / Accepted: 15 March 2021 / Published: 29 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Quality and Human Health)
Treated sewage harbours pathogenic microbes, such as enteric bacteria and protozoa, are capable of causing several diseases. Some of these are emerging pathogens sometimes recovered in the absence of common water quality indicator organisms. The possibility of selected treatments plants serving as momentary reservoirs of Vibrio pathogens during a non-outbreak period was assessed. The occurrence and diversity of Vibrio pathogens were monitored for one year (December 2016 to November 2017) in the treated effluents and upstream and downstream areas of the receiving water bodies of two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), designated AL and TS. Physicochemical parameters of TS and AL WWTPs’ water samples were analysed using a multi-parameter meter (Hanna, model HI 9828, Padova, Italy) and a turbidimeter (HACH, model 2100P, Johannesburg, South Africa). Water samples were augmented with alkaline peptone water and cultured on thiosulfate citrate bile salts sucrose agar at 37 °C for 24 h. The recovered probable pathogens were confirmed via PCR amplification, using primers specific for Vibrio species of public health significance. The distribution of Vibrio species positively and significantly (p < 0.01) correlated with turbidity (r = 0.630), temperature (r = 0.615), dissolved oxygen (r = 0.615), pH (r = 0.607), biological oxygen demand (r = 0.573), total dissolved solid (r = 0.543), total suspended solid (r = 0.511), electrical conductivity (r = 0.499), residual chlorine (r = 0.463) and salinity (r = 0.459). The densities of Vibrio species were found to be significantly higher (p < 0.05) in effluents from both AL and TS WWTPs than upstream and downstream of the receiving rivers across the sampling regime. Furthermore, the maximum Vibrio species density across the sampling regime were observed during the warmer Summer and Spring season. Moreover, six medically important Vibrio species were detected in the water samples, indicating that the methods employed were efficient in revealing that WWTPs are potential reservoirs of Vibrio pathogens, which could pose a substantial public health risk if the receiving water is used for domestic purposes. Our findings further strengthen existing calls for the inclusion of emerging bacterial pathogens, including Vibrio species, as water quality indicators by the South African Department of Water Affairs. Hence, we recommend regular monitoring of treated effluents and receiving water bodies to ensure early control of potential outbreaks of vibriosis and cholera. View Full-Text
Keywords: Vibrio species; treated effluents; freshwater; public health; wastewater treatment plants Vibrio species; treated effluents; freshwater; public health; wastewater treatment plants
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MDPI and ACS Style

Osunla, A.C.; Abioye, O.E.; Okoh, A.I. Distribution and Public Health Significance of Vibrio Pathogens Recovered from Selected Treated Effluents in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Water 2021, 13, 932. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070932

AMA Style

Osunla AC, Abioye OE, Okoh AI. Distribution and Public Health Significance of Vibrio Pathogens Recovered from Selected Treated Effluents in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Water. 2021; 13(7):932. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070932

Chicago/Turabian Style

Osunla, Ayodeji C.; Abioye, Oluwatayo E.; Okoh, Anthony I. 2021. "Distribution and Public Health Significance of Vibrio Pathogens Recovered from Selected Treated Effluents in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa" Water 13, no. 7: 932. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13070932

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