Waterborne pathogens and related diseases are a major public health concern worldwide, not only by the morbidity and mortality that they cause, but by the high cost that represents their prevention and treatment. These diseases are directly related to environmental deterioration and pollution. Despite the continued efforts to maintain water safety, waterborne outbreaks are still reported globally. Proper assessment of pathogens on water and water quality monitoring are key factors for decision-making regarding water distribution systems’ infrastructure, the choice of best water treatment and prevention waterborne outbreaks. Powerful, sensitive and reproducible diagnostic tools are developed to monitor pathogen contamination in water and be able to detect not only cultivable pathogens but also to detect the occurrence of viable but non-culturable microorganisms as well as the presence of pathogens on biofilms. Quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) is a helpful tool to evaluate the scenarios for pathogen contamination that involve surveillance, detection methods, analysis and decision-making. This review aims to present a research outlook on waterborne outbreaks that have occurred in recent years. This review also focuses in the main molecular techniques for detection of waterborne pathogens and the use of QMRA approach to protect public health.
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