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Rapid Measurement of Bacterial Fecal Pollution Indicators at Recreational Beaches By Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction

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Abstract:Previous studies have demonstrated that measurements by the membrane filtration (MF) method of the bacterial indicators Enterococcus and E. coli in recreational beach water samples are correlated with swimming-associated gastroenteritis. These relationships currently serve as the basis for recommended guidance by the USEPA on unacceptable health risks associated with swimming in natural waters. The MF method, however, requires at least 24 hours for results and during this delay, swimmers may be exposed to unsafe waters. The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (QPCR) method is presently being evaluated as a possible alternative to MF. Water analyses using this technology can provide results in approximately 2 hours. In the summer of 2003, studies were conducted by several organizations including USEPA, Office of Research and Development, USEPA Region I, and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project at both freshwater and marine beaches to determine the correlation between results of the QPCR and MF methods. Two of these studies also tested a newly developed assay for fecal indicator bacteria in the class Bacteriodetes and collected data on swimmer illness rates that have been compared with the QPCR and MF results. Positive correlations were observed in each of these studies and continuing evaluations of the QPCR method are being performed in 2004. Based on the performance of this method to date, the USEPA Office of Water is currently considering its potential use as a reference method in performance evaluations of other alternative nucleic acid tests for fecal contamination in ambient waters.
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Citation:Haugland, R. A., S. D. Siefring, K. Brenner, A. P. Dufour, J. A. Griffith, K. Schiff, S. B. Weisberg, J. Paar, and K. G. Field. Rapid Measurement of Bacterial Fecal Pollution Indicators at Recreational Beaches By Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction. Presented at National Beaches Conference, San Diego, CA, October 13-15, 2004.
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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: Microbial Exposure Research Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 10/13/2004
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Rapid Detection Method for E.COLI, Enterococci and Bacteroides in Recreational Water
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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