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Revista argentina de microbiología

Print version ISSN 0325-7541


GUTIERREZ CACCIABUE, Dolores et al. Quantification of parasites in aquatic environments in the Province of Salta, Argentina. Rev. argent. microbiol. [online]. 2014, vol.46, n.2, pp.150-160. ISSN 0325-7541.

Microbiological pollution of recreational waters is a major problem for public health as it may transmit waterborne diseases. To assess water quality, current legislation only requires limits for bacterial indicators; however, these organisms do not accurately predict the presence of parasites. Small number of parasites is usually present in water and although they are capable of causing disease, they may not be high enough to be detected. Detection therefore requires water samples to be concentrated. In this work three recreational aquatic environments located in the province of Salta were monitored over one year. For parasite quantification, water samples were collected every three months and concentrated by ultrafiltration. Detection was performed by microscopy. In addition, monthly monitoring was carried out in each aquatic environment: physicochemical variables were measured in situ and bacteriological counts were determined by traditional microbiological techniques. Of 14 parasites identified, at least nine were detected in each aquatic environment sampled. While bacteriological contamination decreased in most cases during winter (76-99%), parasites were present year-round, becoming a continual threat to public health. Thus, we here propose that it is necessary to use specific parasitological indicators to prevent waterborne disease transmission. Our results suggest that Entamoeba would be a suitable indicator as it was found in all environments and showed minimal seasonal variation. The results obtained in this study have epidemiological relevance and will allow decision-makers to propose solutions for water protection in order to care for population health.

Keywords : Recreational water quality; Bacterial indicators; Parasites; Health; Argentina.

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