Quantitative Microbiology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 55-68

First online:

Assessment of Enteric Pathogen Shedding by Bathers during Recreational Activity and its Impact on Water Quality

  • Charles P. GerbaAffiliated withDept. of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona

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An assessment was made to determine the potential loading of enteric pathogenic protozoa and viruses into drinking water supply reservoirs by body contact recreation. These and other organisms of fecal origin are shed from the body during bathing. A literature review was conducted on the concentration of selected enteric viruses and protozoa during infection, the incidence of these infections, and duration of excretion. In addition, from existing literature, the amount of fecal material released during bathing was estimated from the shedding of fecal coliforms by bathers. The mean amount of fecal material shed per bather was estimated at 0.14[emsp4 ]gram. The concentration of protozoan parasites (Giardia or Cryptosporidium) in feces of infected persons can range from 105 to 107 per gram and enteric viruses (enteroviruses, adenoviruses, rotavirus) from 105 to 1012 per gram. From this information, the concentration of enteric pathogens, shed into the water, could be calculated for a group of bathers. This information can be used to model the impact of body contact recreation on water quality in reservoirs used for drinking water supplies. Such information is useful in assessing the required treatment of the water to meet water quality regulations.

recreational water enteric viruses pathogen shedding Giardia Cryptosporidium fecal coliforms