This study investigated the presence of Escherichia coli from some public water sources in Gusau municipal, north- western Nigeria. This was done by determining the total coliform counts and the presence of Escherichia coli and its antibiotic susceptibility profile. A total of 180 well 60 tap and 60 packaged water samples were obtained from Gusau municipal on weekly basis over a period of seven month (August, 2006-Feb, 2007) covering part of rainy and dry seasons. Standard procedures were used for the identification of Escherichia coli and for estimating total coliform counts. All samples had coliform counts higher than the international standard recommended by the World Health Organization. Results of biochemical analysis of the samples showed that out of 63 confirmed Escherichia coli isolated, 41 (45.5%) were from well water, tap water had 14 (23.3%) while packaged water had 8(13.3%).The susceptibility profile of the isolates to nine antimicrobial agents indicated that majority of the isolates were highly susceptible to Chloramphenicol, Gentamycin, Perrfloxacin, Tarivid, Augmentin, Streptomycin, Sparfloxacin, and Ciprofloxacin, moderate susceptibility to Septrin and resistant to Amoxacilin were observed. None of the water samples met the WHO standards for drinking water and thus pose a serious health risk to its consumers and users if not properly treated.
Key words: Bacteriological quality, Escherichia coli, Prevalence, susceptibility profile, public water sources, Gusau.