Christina Beslin, Asheley Poole, Sara Benevente, and Asli Aslan
Water sachets are one of the main sources of potable drinking water people in West Africa. These small sealed packets of water are inexpensive to purchase, approximately twenty cents per bag, and they sold on the streets of Ghana, with little information about their sources. Water sachets are not regulated in terms of sanitation and hygiene and can be very profitable due to low productions cost. The aim of this study is to identify the microbiological pollution in these commercially available bags. Overall, a total of 47 bags were collected from several different sachet companies in five locations across the country. Samples were filtered onsite and the filters were transported to JPH College of Public Health Core Laboratory. DNA was extracted from these filters and E. coli concentrations were detected using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Preliminary results showed that samples purchased from two different companies in Kumasi had E. coli concentrations ranging from 640 – 1011 CCE /100 ml. The target gene copy number per cell for this method is seven. The World Health Organization (WHO) criteria for drinking water is zero E coli cells per 100 ml. The E. coli cells detected in these samples from Ghana ranged from 91 - 144 cells/100 ml. High numbers of E. coli pose health risk and can cause acute gastrointestinal diseases. In addition, detecting this bacterium in drinking water means that there is also the potential for contamination by other pathogenic bacteria. Ghana is one of the most improved countries in West Africa with a population of 25,758,108 and GDP of $90.41 billion. Our results have shown that even in the more advanced country of West Africa, there are still a lot of problems regarding water, sanitation and hygiene. The high numbers of E. coli detected in these sachet water samples show a potential risk for public health and better policies should be implemented in this region to prevent waterborne illnesses.
- Drinking water quality,
- West Africa
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/asli_aslan/123/