Sachet drinking water in accra: the potential threats of transmission of enteric pathogenic protozoan organisms
AbstractBackground: The recent introduction of sachet water to consumers was to provide safe, hygienic and affordable instant drinking water to the public. Although this is a laudable idea current trends seem to suggest that sachet drinking water could be a route of transmission of enteric pathogens. Objective: To assess the safety of sachet drinking
water. Materials and Methods: Twenty seven different brands of 500ml sachet water samples randomly selected and purchased from various vendors in Accra were subjected to microscopic examinations to determine the presence of parasitic protozoa. The study was carried out between January and May 2005. Results: Seventy-seven percent of the samples contained infective stages of pathogenic parasitic organisms. Common pathogens identified include, Microsporidia sp 14/27 (51.2%), Cryptosporidium parvum 17/27 (63.0%), Cyclospora cayetenensis
16/27 (59.3%), Sarcocystis sp. 18/27 (66.7%). Rotifers 5/27 (18.5%), and Charcoat Leyden crystals 12/27 (44.4%). Ninety-three percent of the samples contained unidentified impurities/artifacts.
29.6% of the samples contained at least one type of parasite, 14.8% contained at least 2 types of parasites, 25.9% contained at least three types of parasites, while 29.6% contained four types of parasites. Conclusion: The study indicated the presence of contaminants of feacal and zoonotic origin in some of the sachet water examined. This has grim public health implications as the organisms identified can cause water related diseases which have serious complications in children and adults particularly immunocompromised individuals. Sachet water
should be constantly monitored for its microbial quality.
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