Opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens (OPPP) are microorganisms that are native to the plumbing environment and that present an emerging infectious disease problem. They share characteristics, such as disinfectant resistance, thermal tolerance, and biofilm formation. The colonisation of domestic water systems presents an elevated health risk for immune-compromised individuals who receive healthcare at home. The literature that has identified the previously described OPPPs (Aeromonas
spp., and Stenotrophomonas
spp.) in residential drinking water systems were systematically reviewed. By applying the Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses guidelines, 214 studies were identified from the Scopus and Web of Science databases, which included 30 clinical case investigations. Tap components and showerheads were the most frequently identified sources of OPPPs. Sixty-four of these studies detected additional clinically relevant pathogens that are not classified as OPPPs in these reservoirs. There was considerable variation in the detection methods, which included traditional culturing and molecular approaches. These identified studies demonstrate that the current drinking water treatment methods are ineffective against many waterborne pathogens. It is critical that, as at-home healthcare services continue to be promoted, we understand the emergent risks that are posed by OPPPs in residential drinking water. Future research is needed in order to provide consistent data on the prevalence of OPPPs in residential water, and on the incidence of waterborne homecare-associated infections. This will enable the identification of the contributing risk factors, and the development of effective controls.
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