Cryptosporidium and Giardia in tropical recreational marine waters contaminated with domestic sewage: Estimation of bathing-associated disease risks

Walter Q. Betancourt, Diana C. Duarte, Rosa C. Vásquez, Patrick L. Gurian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sewage is a major contributor to pollution problems involving human pathogens in tropical coastal areas. This study investigated the occurrence of intestinal protozoan parasites (Giardia and Cryptosporidium) in tropical recreational marine waters contaminated with sewage. The potential risks of Cryptosporidium and Giardia infection from recreational water exposure were estimated from the levels of viable (oo) cysts (DIC+, DAPI+, PI-) found in near-shore swimming areas using an exponential dose response model. A Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis was performed in order to determine the probability distribution of risks. Microbial indicators of recreational water quality (enterococci, Clostridium perfringens) and genetic markers of sewage pollution (human-specific Bacteroidales marker [HF183] and Clostridium coccoides) were simultaneously evaluated in order to estimate the extent of water quality deterioration associated with human wastes. The study revealed the potential risk of parasite infections via primary contact with tropical marine waters contaminated with sewage; higher risk estimates for Giardia than for Cryptosporidium were found. Mean risks estimated by Monte Carlo were below the U.S. EPA upper bound on recreational risk of 0.036 for cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis for both children and adults. However, 95th percentile estimates for giardiasis for children exceeded the 0.036 level. Environmental surveillance of microbial pathogens is crucial in order to control and eradicate the effects that increasing anthropogenic impacts have on marine ecosystems and human health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-273
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume85
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Marine waters
  • Parasites
  • Recreation
  • Risks
  • Sewage
  • Tropics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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