Microbial Contamination of Drinking Water and Human Health from Community Water Systems
A relatively short list of reference viral, bacterial and protozoan pathogens appears adequate to assess microbial risks and inform a system-based management of drinking waters. Nonetheless, there are data gaps, e.g. human enteric viruses resulting in endemic infection levels if poorly performing disinfection and/or distribution systems are used, and the risks from fungi. Where disinfection is the only treatment and/or filtration is poor, cryptosporidiosis is the most likely enteric disease to be identified during waterborne outbreaks, but generally non-human-infectious genotypes are present in the absence of human or calf fecal contamination. protozoan pathogens may dominate risks during major fecal contamination events that are ineffectively managed. Reliance on culture-based methods exaggerates treatment efficacy and reduces our ability to identify pathogens/indicators; however, next-generation sequencing and polymerase chain reaction approaches are on the cusp of changing that. Overall, water-based Legionella and non-tuberculous mycobacteria probably dominate health burden at exposure points following the various societal uses of drinking water.
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