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Sensitivity of <i>Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae</i> and nine other bacterial species isolated from drinking water in the lower Volta Basin to some commonly used antibiotics

C Amoah
GT Odamtten
H Longmatey (deceased)


In monitoring water in rural and poor urban communities for potentially harmful bacteria, the conventional methods for detecting total and faecal coliforms on MacConkey Broth were used. Streaks on Plate Count Agar were used for identification, bacteriological and biochemical characterisation using the API 20E kit. Stored drinking water from villages in the South Tongu and East Dangbe Districts kept in earthenware pots (17-78 l capacity) for up to 1 week contained several species of bacteria including Acinetobacter sp., Aeromonas sobria, Chryseomonas luteola, Citrobacter amalonaticus, C. diversus, C. freundii, Edwardsiella sp., Enterobacter aerogenes, E. cloacae, E. sakazakii, Escherichia coli, E. hermanii, Hafnia alvei, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Kluyvera sp., Pseudomonas fluorescens, Serratia fonticola, S. odorifera, S. plymutica, Salmonella arizonae, Shigella sp., and Yersinia intermedia. The sensitivity of E. coli, K. pneumoniae and nine other bacterial species isolated was tested using the disc diffusion method containing sensitivity disc rings incorporated with antibiotics including ampicillin 10 g, cefotaxime 30 g, tetracycline 30 g, amikacin 30 g, cotrimoxazole 25 g, and chloramphenicol 30 g. About 87.5 per cent (14/16) strains of E. coli and 88.2 per cent (15/17) strains of K. pneumoniae were resistant to ampicillin; 31.3 per cent (5/16) strains of E. coli were resistant to tetracycline and sensitive to the remaining antibiotics. The resistance of the remaining microbes to the antimicrobials was considerable. It is suggested that close monitoring of quality of water coupled with education in cleaning storage containers, using the traditional heat sterilisation method, can effectively reduce contamination and, thus, curtail the health risk associated with drinking unsafe water.

Ghana Journal of Science Vol. 44, 2004: 47-57

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eISSN: 0855-1448
print ISSN: 0016-9544