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Estimating the probability of illness due to swimming in recreational water with a mixture of human- and gull-associated microbial source tracking markers

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Abstract

Beaches often receive fecal contamination from more than one source. Human sources include untreated sewage as well as treated wastewater effluent, and animal sources include wildlife such as gulls. Different contamination sources are expected to pose different health risks to swimmers. Genetic microbial source tracking (MST) markers can be used to detect bacteria that are associated with different animal sources, but the health risks associated with a mixture of MST markers are unknown. This study presents a method for predicting these health risks, using human- and gull-associated markers as an example. Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) is conducted with MST markers as indicators. We find that risks associated with exposure to a specific concentration of a human-associated MST marker (HF) are greater if the HF source is untreated sewage rather than treated wastewater effluent. We also provide a risk-based threshold of HF from untreated sewage at a beach, to stay below a predicted illness risk of 3 per 100 swimmers, that is a function of gull-associated MST marker (CAT) concentration.

Graphical abstract: Estimating the probability of illness due to swimming in recreational water with a mixture of human- and gull-associated microbial source tracking markers

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Jul 2017, accepted on 24 Oct 2017 and first published on 24 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00316A
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Advance Article
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    Estimating the probability of illness due to swimming in recreational water with a mixture of human- and gull-associated microbial source tracking markers

    K. I. Brown, K. E. Graham, J. A. Soller and A. B. Boehm, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7EM00316A

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