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National Epidemiological and Environmental Assessment of Recreational Water Study

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Abstract:Evidence from various sources around the world indicate that there is a relationship between gastroenteritis in swimmers and the quality of the bathing water as measured with bacterial indicators of fecal contamination. Current EPA guidelines recommend the use of cultural methods for E. coli and enterococci to measure beach water quality. These methods produce results in 24 hours creating the conundrum, "we can tell you tomorrow, what you swam in today." This shortcoming in current practice for measuring beach water quality has led EPA to consider new technology and indicators that will provide rapid (2 hours or less) measurement of beach waters.

The National Epidemiologic and Environmental Assessment of Recreational (NEEAR) Water Study is a 5-year research project that will document human health effects associated with recreational water use. Data collected from this study will be useful in identifying new water quality indicators and rapid methods for measuring water quality.

The NEEAR Water Study is a prospective cohort study that will include 9-11 marine and freshwater beaches in the nation. Approximately 5000-8000 persons from each beach will be surveyed to determine swimming exposure and risk factors for illness. Follow-up interviews at one and then two weeks later will reveal illnesses possibly related to the beach visit. The water quality will be measured during the swimmer exposure using the currently recommended cultural method for enterococci as well as quantitative PCR and optical fiber/fluoroimmunoassay technology. The latter two tests can produce results in 2 hours or less using enterococci and Bacteroides sp. as the analyte. The analysis will focus on water quality parameters and their association with increased prevalence of swimming-related health effects. Water quality guidelines will be developed from the data showing the best relationship between swimmer health effects and water quality measurements.
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Citation:Dufour, A. P., R. L. Calderon, M. Beach, T. J. Wade, and E. A. Sams. National Epidemiological and Environmental Assessment of Recreational Water Study. Presented at The Annual Meeting of the Great Lakes Beach Association, Muskegon, MI, October 21-22, 2003.
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Contact: Mary P. O'Bryant - (919)-541-4871 or obriant.mary@epa.gov
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Division: Microbiological & Chemical Exposure Assessment Division
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Branch: Immediate Office
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 10/21/2003
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Measurements of Fecal Contamination in Recreational Waters By New Rapid Methods and Their Relationships to Health Endpoints
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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