[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
The combination of deworming and improved sanitation or hygiene may result in greater reductions in soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection than any single intervention on its own. We measured STH prevalence in rural Bangladesh and assessed potential interactions among deworming, hygienic latrines, and household finished floors.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey (n = 1,630) in 100 villages in rural Bangladesh to measure three exposures: self-reported deworming consumption in the past 6 months, access to a hygienic latrine, and household flooring material. We collected stool samples from children 1-4 years, 5-12 years, and women 15-49 years. We performed mini-FLOTAC on preserved stool samples to detect Ascaris lumbricoides, Enterobius vermicularis, hookworm, and Trichuris trichiura ova. Approximately one-third (32%) of all individuals and 40% of school-aged children had an STH infection. Less than 2% of the sample had moderate/heavy intensity infections. Deworming was associated with lower Ascaris prevalence (adjusted prevalence ratio (PR) = 0.53; 95% CI 0.40, 0.71), but there was no significant association with hookworm (PR = 0.93, 95% CI 0.60, 1.44) or Trichuris (PR = 0.90, 95% CI 0.74, 1.08). PRs for hygienic latrine access were 0.91 (95% CI 0.67,1.24), 0.73 (95% CI 0.43,1.24), and 1.03 (95% CI 0.84,1.27) for Ascaris, hookworm, and Trichuris, respectively. Finished floors were associated with lower Ascaris prevalence (PR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.32, 0.97) but not associated with hookworm (PR = 0.48 95% CI 0.16,1.45) or Trichuris (PR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.72,1.33). Across helminths and combinations of exposures, adjusted prevalence ratios for joint exposures were consistently more protective than those for individual exposures.
We found moderate STH prevalence in rural Bangladesh among children and women of childbearing age. This study is one of the first to examine independent and combined associations with deworming, sanitation, and hygiene. Our results suggest that coupling deworming with sanitation and flooring interventions may yield more sustained reductions in STH prevalence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Intermittent delivery of piped water can lead to waterborne illness through contamination in the pipelines or during household storage, use of unsafe water sources during intermittencies, and limited water availability for hygiene. We assessed the association between continuous versus intermittent water supply and waterborne diseases, child mortality, and weight for age in Hubli-Dharwad, India.
Methods and findings:
We conducted a matched cohort study with multivariate matching to identify intermittent and continuous supply areas with comparable characteristics in Hubli-Dharwad. We followed 3,922 households in 16 neighborhoods with children <5 y old, with four longitudinal visits over 15 mo (Nov 2010-Feb 2012) to record caregiver-reported health outcomes (diarrhea, highly credible gastrointestinal illness, bloody diarrhea, typhoid fever, cholera, hepatitis, and deaths of children <2 y old) and, at the final visit, to measure weight for age for children <5 y old. We also collected caregiver-reported data on negative control outcomes (cough/cold and scrapes/bruises) to assess potential bias from residual confounding or differential measurement error. Continuous supply had no significant overall association with diarrhea (prevalence ratio [PR] = 0.93, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.83-1.04, p = 0.19), bloody diarrhea (PR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.60-1.01, p = 0.06), or weight-for-age z-scores (Δz = 0.01, 95% CI: -0.07-0.09, p = 0.79) in children <5 y old. In prespecified subgroup analyses by socioeconomic status, children <5 y old in lower-income continuous supply households had 37% lower prevalence of bloody diarrhea (PR = 0.63, 95% CI: 0.46-0.87, p-value for interaction = 0.03) than lower-income intermittent supply households; in higher-income households, there was no significant association between continuous versus intermittent supply and child diarrheal illnesses. Continuous supply areas also had 42% fewer households with ≥1 reported case of typhoid fever (cumulative incidence ratio [CIR] = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.41-0.78, p = 0.001) than intermittent supply areas. There was no significant association with hepatitis, cholera, or mortality of children <2 y old; however, our results were indicative of lower mortality of children <2 y old (CIR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.22-1.07, p = 0.10) in continuous supply areas. The major limitations of our study were the potential for unmeasured confounding given the observational design and measurement bias from differential reporting of health symptoms given the nonblinded treatment. However, there was no significant difference in the prevalence of the negative control outcomes between study groups that would suggest undetected confounding or measurement bias.
Continuous water supply had no significant overall association with diarrheal disease or ponderal growth in children <5 y old in Hubli-Dharwad; this might be due to point-of-use water contamination from continuing household storage and exposure to diarrheagenic pathogens through nonwaterborne routes. Continuous supply was associated with lower prevalence of dysentery in children in low-income households and lower typhoid fever incidence, suggesting that intermittently operated piped water systems are a significant transmission mechanism for Salmonella typhi and dysentery-causing pathogens in this urban population, despite centralized water treatment. Continuous supply was associated with reduced transmission, especially in the poorer higher-risk segments of the population.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In rural China ~607 million people drink boiled water, yet little is known about prevailing household water treatment (HWT) methods or their effectiveness. Boiling, the most common HWT method globally, is microbiologically effective, but household air pollution (HAP) from burning solid fuels causes cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and black carbon emissions exacerbate climate change. Boiled water is also easily re-contaminated. Our study was designed to identify the HWT methods used in rural China and to evaluate their effectiveness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Shallow tubewells are the primary drinking water source for most rural Bangladeshis. Fecal contamination has been detected in tubewells, at low concentrations at the source and at higher levels at the point of use. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess whether improving the microbiological quality of tubewell drinking water by household water treatment and safe storage would reduce diarrhea in children <2 years in rural Bangladesh.
We randomly assigned 1800 households with a child aged 6-18 months (index child) into one of three arms: chlorine plus safe storage, safe storage and control. We followed households with monthly visits for one year to promote the interventions, track their uptake, test participants' source and stored water for fecal contamination, and record caregiver-reported child diarrhea prevalence (primary outcome). To assess reporting bias, we also collected data on health outcomes that are not expected to be impacted by our interventions.
Both interventions had high uptake. Safe storage, alone or combined with chlorination, reduced heavy contamination of stored water. Compared to controls, diarrhea in index children was reduced by 36% in the chlorine plus safe storage arm (prevalence ratio, PR = 0.64, 0.55-0.73) and 31% in the safe storage arm (PR = 0.69, 0.60-0.80), with no difference between the two intervention arms. One limitation of the study was the non-blinded design with self-reported outcomes. However, the prevalence of health outcomes not expected to be impacted by water interventions did not differ between study arms, suggesting minimal reporting bias.
Safe storage significantly improved drinking water quality at the point of use and reduced child diarrhea in rural Bangladesh. There was no added benefit from combining safe storage with chlorination. Efforts should be undertaken to implement and evaluate long-term efforts for safe water storage in Bangladesh.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Discreet collection of spot check observations to measure household hygiene conditions is a common measurement technique in epidemiologic studies of hygiene in low-income countries. The objective of this study was to determine whether the collection of spot check observations in longitudinal studies could itself induce reactivity (i.e., change participant behavior). We analyzed data from a 12-month prospective cohort study in rural Tamil Nadu, India that was conducted in the absence of any hygiene or toilet promotion activities. Our data included hygiene and toilet spot checks from 10,427 household visits. We found substantial evidence of participant reactivity to spot check observations of hygiene practices that were easy to modify on short notice. For example, soap observed at the household's primary handwashing location increased from 49% at enrollment to 81% by the fourth visit and remained at or above 77% for the remainder of the study.
Preview · Article · Nov 2014 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Current guidelines recommend the use of Escherichia coli (EC) or thermotolerant ("fecal") coliforms (FC) as indicators of fecal contamination in drinking water. Despite their broad use as measures of water quality, there remains limited evidence for an association between EC or FC and diarrheal illness: a previous review found no evidence for a link between diarrhea and these indicators in household drinking water. Objectives: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to update the results of the previous review with newly available evidence, to explore differences between EC and FC indicators, and to assess the quality of available evidence. Methods: We searched major databases using broad terms for household water quality and diarrhea. We extracted study characteristics and relative risks (RR) from relevant studies. We pooled RRs using random effects models with inverse variance weighting, and used standard methods to evaluate heterogeneity and publication bias. Results: We identified 20 relevant studies; 14 studies provided extractable results for meta-analysis. When combining all studies, we found no association between EC or FC and diarrhea (RR 1.26 [95% CI: 0.98, 1.63]). When analyzing EC and FC separately, we found evidence for an association between diarrhea and EC (RR: 1.54 [95% CI: 1.37, 1.74]) but not FC (RR: 1.07 [95% CI: 0.79, 1.45]). Across all studies, we identified several elements of study design and reporting (e. g., timing of outcome and exposure measurement, accounting for correlated outcomes) that could be improved upon in future studies that evaluate the association between drinking water contamination and health. Conclusions: Our findings, based on a review of the published literature, suggest that these two coliform groups have different associations with diarrhea in household drinking water. Our results support the use of EC as a fecal indicator in household drinking water.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Poor sanitation is thought to be a major cause of enteric infections among young children. However, there are no previously published randomized trials to measure the health impacts of large-scale sanitation programs. India's Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) is one such program that seeks to end the practice of open defecation by changing social norms and behaviors, and providing technical support and financial subsidies. The objective of this study was to measure the effect of the TSC implemented with capacity building support from the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Program in Madhya Pradesh on availability of individual household latrines (IHLs), defecation behaviors, and child health (diarrhea, highly credible gastrointestinal illness [HCGI], parasitic infections, anemia, growth).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 2010 global burden of disease (GBD) study represents the latest effort to estimate the global burden of disease and injuries and the associated risk factors. Like previous GBD studies, this latest iteration reflects a continuing evolution in methods, scope and evidence base. Since the first GBD Study in 1990, the burden of diarrhoeal disease and the burden attributable to inadequate water and sanitation have fallen dramatically. While this is consistent with trends in communicable disease and child mortality, the change in attributable risk is also due to new interpretations of the epidemiological evidence from studies of interventions to improve water quality. To provide context for a series of companion papers proposing alternative assumptions and methods concerning the disease burden and risks from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, we summarise evolving methods over previous GBD studies. We also describe an alternative approach using population intervention modelling. We conclude by emphasising the important role of GBD studies and the need to ensure that policy on interventions such as water and sanitation be grounded on methods that are transparent, peer-reviewed and widely accepted.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
To assess the impact of inadequate water and sanitation on diarrhoeal disease in low- and middle-income settings.Methods
The search strategy used Cochrane Library, MEDLINE & PubMed, Global Health, Embase and BIOSIS supplemented by screening of reference lists from previously published systematic reviews, to identify studies reporting on interventions examining the effect of drinking water and sanitation improvements in low- and middle-income settings published between 1970 and May 2013. Studies including randomised controlled trials, quasi-randomised trials with control group, observational studies using matching techniques and observational studies with a control group where the intervention was well defined were eligible. Risk of bias was assessed using a modified Ottawa–Newcastle scale. Study results were combined using meta-analysis and meta-regression to derive overall and intervention-specific risk estimates.ResultsOf 6819 records identified for drinking water, 61 studies met the inclusion criteria, and of 12 515 records identified for sanitation, 11 studies were included. Overall, improvements in drinking water and sanitation were associated with decreased risks of diarrhoea. Specific improvements, such as the use of water filters, provision of high-quality piped water and sewer connections, were associated with greater reductions in diarrhoea compared with other interventions.Conclusions
The results show that inadequate water and sanitation are associated with considerable risks of diarrhoeal disease and that there are notable differences in illness reduction according to the type of improved water and sanitation implemented.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complier average causal effects (CACE) estimate the impact of an intervention among treatment compliers in randomized trials. Methods used to estimate CACE have been outlined for parallel-arm trials (e.g., using an instrumental variables (IV) estimator) but not for other randomized study designs. Here, we propose a method for estimating CACE in randomized stepped wedge trials, where experimental units cross over from control conditions to intervention conditions in a randomized sequence. We illustrate the approach with a cluster-randomized drinking water trial conducted in rural Mexico from 2009 to 2011. Additionally, we evaluated the plausibility of assumptions required to estimate CACE using the IV approach, which are testable in stepped wedge trials but not in parallel-arm trials. We observed small increases in the magnitude of CACE risk differences compared with intention-to-treat estimates for drinking water contamination (risk difference (RD) = -22% (95% confidence interval (CI): -33, -11) vs. RD = -19% (95% CI: -26, -12)) and diarrhea (RD = -0.8% (95% CI: -2.1, 0.4) vs. RD = -0.1% (95% CI: -1.1, 0.9)). Assumptions required for IV analysis were probably violated. Stepped wedge trials allow investigators to estimate CACE with an approach that avoids the stronger assumptions required for CACE estimation in parallel-arm trials. Inclusion of CACE estimates in stepped wedge trials with imperfect compliance could enhance reporting and interpretation of the results of such trials.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · American journal of epidemiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective
To estimate the burden of diarrhoeal diseases from exposure to inadequate water, sanitation and hand hygiene in low- and middle-income settings and provide an overview of the impact on other diseases.Methods
For estimating the impact of water, sanitation and hygiene on diarrhoea, we selected exposure levels with both sufficient global exposure data and a matching exposure-risk relationship. Global exposure data were estimated for the year 2012, and risk estimates were taken from the most recent systematic analyses. We estimated attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by country, age and sex for inadequate water, sanitation and hand hygiene separately, and as a cluster of risk factors. Uncertainty estimates were computed on the basis of uncertainty surrounding exposure estimates and relative risks.ResultsIn 2012, 502 000 diarrhoea deaths were estimated to be caused by inadequate drinking water and 280 000 deaths by inadequate sanitation. The most likely estimate of disease burden from inadequate hand hygiene amounts to 297 000 deaths. In total, 842 000 million diarrhoea deaths are estimated to be caused by this cluster of risk factors, which amounts to 1.5% of the total disease burden and 58% of diarrhoeal diseases. In children under 5 years old, 361 000 deaths could be prevented, representing 5.5% of deaths in that age group.Conclusions
This estimate confirms the importance of improving water and sanitation in low- and middle-income settings for the prevention of diarrhoeal disease burden. It also underscores the need for better data on exposure and risk reductions that can be achieved with provision of reliable piped water, community sewage with treatment and hand hygiene.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efforts to monitor malaria transmission increasingly use cross-sectional surveys to estimate transmission intensity from seroprevalence data using malarial antibodies. To date, seroconversion rates estimated from cross-sectional surveys have not been compared to rates estimated in prospective cohorts. Our objective was to compare seroconversion rates estimated in a prospective cohort with those from a cross-sectional survey in a low-transmission population.
The analysis included two studies from Haiti: a prospective cohort of 142 children ages ≤11 years followed for up to 9 years, and a concurrent cross-sectional survey of 383 individuals ages 0-90 years old. From all individuals, we analyzed 1,154 blood spot specimens for the malaria antibody MSP-119 using a multiplex bead antigen assay. We classified individuals as positive for malaria using a cutoff derived from the mean plus 3 standard deviations in antibody responses from a negative control set of unexposed individuals. We estimated prospective seroconversion rates from the longitudinal cohort based on 13 incident seroconversions among 646 person-years at risk. We also estimated seroconversion rates from the cross-sectional survey using a reversible catalytic model fit with maximum likelihood. We found the two approaches provided consistent results: the seroconversion rate for ages ≤11 years was 0.020 (0.010, 0.032) estimated prospectively versus 0.023 (0.001, 0.052) in the cross-sectional survey.
The estimation of seroconversion rates using cross-sectional data is a widespread and generalizable problem for many infectious diseases that can be measured using antibody titers. The consistency between these two estimates lends credibility to model-based estimates of malaria seroconversion rates using cross-sectional surveys. This study also demonstrates the utility of including malaria antibody measures in multiplex assays alongside targets for vaccine coverage and other neglected tropical diseases, which together could comprise an integrated, large-scale serological surveillance platform.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Use of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) for monitoring beach water quality is based on their co-occurrence with human pathogens, a relationship that can be dramatically altered by fate and transport processes after leaving the human intestine. We conducted a prospective cohort study at Avalon Beach, California (USA), where the indicator relationship is potentially affected by the discharge of sewage-contaminated groundwater and by solar radiation levels at this shallow, relatively quiescent beach. The goals of this study were to determine: 1) if swimmers exposed to marine water were at higher risk of illness than non-swimmers; 2) if FIB measured in marine water were associated with swimmer illness, and; 3) if the associations between FIB and swimmer health were modified by either submarine groundwater discharge or solar radiation levels. There were 7317 individuals recruited during the summers of 2007-08, 6165 (84%) of whom completed follow-up within two weeks of the beach visit. A total of 703 water quality samples were collected across multiple sites and time periods during recruitment days and analyzed for FIB using both culture-based and molecular methods. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) indicated that swimmers who swallowed water were more likely to experience Gastrointestinal Illness (GI Illness) within three days of their beach visit than non-swimmers, and that this risk was significantly elevated when either submarine groundwater discharge was high (AOR [95% CI]:2.18 [1.22-3.89]) or solar radiation was low (2.45 [1.25-4.79]). The risk of GI Illness was not significantly elevated for swimmers who swallowed water when groundwater discharge was low or solar radiation was high. Associations between GI Illness incidence and FIB levels (Enterococcus EPA Method 1600) among swimmers who swallowed water were not significant when we did not account for groundwater discharge, but were strongly associated when groundwater discharge was high (1.85 [1.06, 3.23]) compared to when it was low (0.77 [0.42, 1.42]; test of interaction: P = 0.03). These results demonstrate the need to account for local environmental conditions when monitoring for, and making decisions about, public health at recreational beaches. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Water distribution systems are vulnerable to performance deficiencies that can cause (re)contamination of treated water and plausibly lead to increased risk of gastrointestinal illness (GII) in consumers.
It is well established that large system disruptions in piped water networks can cause GII outbreaks. We hypothesized that routine network problems can also contribute to background levels of waterborne illness and conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the impact of distribution system deficiencies on endemic GII.
We reviewed published studies that compare direct tap water consumption to consumption of tap water re-treated at the point of use (POU) and studies of specific system deficiencies such as breach of physical or hydraulic pipe integrity and lack of disinfectant residual.
In settings with network malfunction, consumers of tap versus POU-treated water had increased GII (incidence density ratio (IDR) = 1.34; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.79). The subset of non-blinded studies showed a significant association between GII and tap versus POU-treated water consumption (IDR = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.20), but there was no association based on studies that blinded participants to their POU water treatment status (IDR = 0.98; 95% CI: 0.90, 1.08). Among studies focusing on specific network deficiencies, GII was associated with temporary water outages (relative risk = 3.26; 95% CI: 1.48, 7.19) as well as chronic outages in intermittently operated distribution systems (odds ratio = 1.61; 95% CI: 1.26, 2.07).
Tap water consumption is associated with GII in malfunctioning distribution networks. System deficiencies such as water outages also are associated with increased GII, suggesting a potential health risk for consumers served by piped water networks.
Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Environmental Health Perspectives
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies of health risks associated with recreational water exposure require investigators to make choices about water quality indicator averaging techniques, exposure definitions, follow-up periods, and model specifications; however, investigators seldom describe the impact of these choices on reported results. Our objectives are to report illness risk from swimming at a marine beach affected by nonpoint sources of urban runoff, measure associations between fecal indicator bacteria levels and subsequent illness among swimmers, and investigate the sensitivity of results to a range of exposure and outcome definitions.
In 2009, we enrolled 5674 people in a prospective cohort at Malibu Beach, a coastal marine beach in California, and measured daily health symptoms 10-19 days later. Concurrent water quality samples were analyzed for indicator bacteria using culture and molecular methods. We compared illness risk between nonswimmers and swimmers, and among swimmers exposed to various levels of fecal indicator bacteria.
Diarrhea was more common among swimmers than nonswimmers (adjusted odds ratio = 1.88 [95% confidence interval = 1.09-3.24]) within 3 days of the beach visit. Water quality was generally good (fecal indicator bacteria levels exceeded water quality guidelines for only 7% of study samples). Fecal indicator bacteria levels were not consistently associated with swimmer illness. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that overall inference was not substantially affected by the choice of exposure and outcome definitions.
This study suggests that the 3 days following a beach visit may be the most relevant period for health outcome measurement in recreational water studies. Under the water quality conditions observed in this study, fecal indicator bacteria levels were not associated with swimmer illness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enteric infections are common during the first years of life in low-income countries and contribute to growth faltering with long-term impairment of health and development. Water quality, sanitation, handwashing and nutritional interventions can independently reduce enteric infections and growth faltering. There is little evidence that directly compares the effects of these individual and combined interventions on diarrhoea and growth when delivered to infants and young children. The objective of the WASH Benefits study is to help fill this knowledge gap.
WASH Benefits includes two cluster-randomised trials to assess improvements in water quality, sanitation, handwashing and child nutrition-alone and in combination-to rural households with pregnant women in Kenya and Bangladesh. Geographically matched clusters (groups of household compounds in Bangladesh and villages in Kenya) will be randomised to one of six intervention arms or control. Intervention arms include water quality, sanitation, handwashing, nutrition, combined water+sanitation+handwashing (WSH) and WSH+nutrition. The studies will enrol newborn children (N=5760 in Bangladesh and N=8000 in Kenya) and measure outcomes at 12 and 24 months after intervention delivery. Primary outcomes include child length-for-age Z-scores and caregiver-reported diarrhoea. Secondary outcomes include stunting prevalence, markers of environmental enteropathy and child development scores (verbal, motor and personal/social). We will estimate unadjusted and adjusted intention-to-treat effects using semiparametric estimators and permutation tests.
Study protocols have been reviewed and approved by human subjects review boards at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, and Innovations for Poverty Action. Independent data safety monitoring boards in each country oversee the trials. This study is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of California, Berkeley.
Trial registration identifiers (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov): NCT01590095 (Bangladesh), NCT01704105 (Kenya).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In collaboration with a local non-profit organization, this study evaluated the expansion of a program that promoted and installed Mesita Azul, an ultraviolet-disinfection system designed to treat household drinking water in rural Mexico. We conducted a 15-month, cluster-randomized stepped wedge trial by randomizing the order in which 24 communities (444 households) received the intervention. We measured primary outcomes (water contamination and diarrhea) during seven household visits. The intervention increased the percentage of households with access to treated and safely stored drinking water (23-62%), and reduced the percentage of households with Escherichia coli contaminated drinking water (risk difference (RD): -19% [95% CI: -27%, -14%]). No significant reduction in diarrhea was observed (RD: -0.1% [95% CI: -1.1%, 0.9%]). We conclude that household water quality improvements measured in this study justify future promotion of the Mesita Azul, and that future studies to measure its health impact would be valuable if conducted in populations with higher diarrhea prevalence.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this large-scale longitudinal study conducted in rural Southern India, we compared a presence/absence hydrogen sulfide (H2S) test with quantitative assays for total coliforms and Escherichia coli as measures of water quality, health risk, and water supply vulnerability to microbial contamination. None of the three indicators showed a significant association with child diarrhea. The presence of H2S in a water sample was associated with higher levels of total coliform species that may have included E. coli but that were not restricted to E. coli. In addition, we observed a strong relationship between the percent positive H2S test results and total coliform levels among water source samples (R(2) = 0.87). The consistent relationships between H2S and total coliform levels indicate that presence/absence of H2S tests provide a cost-effective option for assessing both the vulnerability of water supplies to microbial contamination and the results of water quality management and risk mitigation efforts.
No preview · Article · May 2013 · The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene