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Journal of Water and Health Vol 11 No 2 pp 346–357 © IWA Publishing 2013 doi:10.2166/wh.2013.162

Quantitative assessment of Naegleria fowleri and Escherichia coli concentrations within a Texas reservoir

Stephanie M. Painter, Russell S. Pfau, Jeff A. Brady and Anne M. S. McFarland

Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research, Tarleton State University, Box T-0410, Stephenville, Texas 76402, USA E-mail: painter@tiaer.tarleton.edu
Department of Biological Sciences, Tarleton State University, Box T-0100, Stephenville, Texas 76402, USA
Texas A&M AgriLife Research, 1229 N. US Hwy 281, Stephenville, Texas 76401, USA


ABSTRACT

Previous presence/absence studies have indicated a correlation between the presence of the pathogenic amoeba Naegleria fowleri and the presence of bacteria, such as the fecal indicator Escherichia coli, in environmental surface waters. The objective of this study was to use quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) methodologies to measure N. fowleri and E. coli concentrations within a Texas reservoir in late summer, and to determine if concentrations of N. fowleri and E. coli were statistically correlated. N. fowleri was detected in water samples from 67% of the reservoir sites tested, with concentrations ranging up to an estimated 26 CE (cell equivalents)/100 mL. E. coli was detected in water samples from 60% of the reservoir sites tested, with concentrations ranging up to 427 CE/100 mL. In this study, E. coli concentrations were not indicative of N. fowleri concentrations.

Keywords: Lake Granbury; microbial water quality; primary amoebic meningoencephalitis; qPCR; quantitative real-time PCR; recreational water quality


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