Municipal wastewater effluents as a source of listerial pathogens in the aquatic milieu of the eastern cape province of South Africa: A concern of public health importance

Emmanuel E.O. Odjadjare, Larry C. Obi, Anthony I. Okoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We evaluated the effluent quality of an urban wastewater treatment facility in South Africa and its impact on the receiving watershed for a period of 12 months. The prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of potential Listeria pathogens (L. ivanovii and L. innocua) and the physicochemical quality of the treated wastewater effluent was assessed, with a view to ascertain the potential health and environmental hazards of the discharged effluent. Total listerial density varied between 2.9 × 100 and 1.2 × 105 cfu/mL; free living Listeria species were more prevalent (84%), compared to Listeria species attached to planktons (59-75%). The treated effluent quality fell short of recommended standards for turbidity, dissolved oxygen, chemical oxygen demand, nitrite, phosphate and Listeria density; while pH, temperature, total dissolved solids and nitrate contents were compliant with target quality limits after treatment. The Listeria isolates (23) were sensitive to three (15%) of the 20 test antibiotics, and showed varying (4.5-91%) levels of resistance to 17 antibiotics. Of seven resistance gene markers assayed, only sulII genes were detected in five (22%) Listeria strains. The study demonstrates a potential negative impact of the wastewater effluent on the receiving environment and suggests a serious public health implication for those who depend on the receiving watershed for drinking and other purposes. © 2010 by the authors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2376-2394
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

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