DNA-based faecal source tracking of contaminated drinking water causing a large Campylobacter outbreak in Norway 2019
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2020, 224 . 10.1016/j.ijheh.2019.113420
During June 2019, an outbreak of campylobacteriosis occurred in Askøy, an island northwest of Bergen, Norway. According to the publicly available records, over 2000 residents fell ill and 76 were hospitalised, and two deaths were suspected to be associated with Campylobacter infection. By investigating the epidemic pattern and scope, an old caved drinking water holding pool was identified that had been faecally contaminated as indicated by the presence of Escherichia coli (E. coli). Furthermore, Campylobacter bacteria were found at several points in the water distribution system. In the escalated water health crisis, tracking down the infectious source became pivotal for the local municipality in order to take prompt and appropriate action to control the epidemic. A major task was to identify the primary faecal pollution source, which could further assist in tracking down the epidemic origin. Water from the affected pool was analysed using quantitative microbial source tracking (QMST) applying host-specific Bacteroidales 16S rRNA genetic markers. In addition, Campylobacter jejuni, Enterococcus faecalis, Clostridium perfringens and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli were detected. The QMST outcomes revealed that non-human (zoogenic) sources accounted predominantly for faecal pollution. More precisely, 69% of the faecal water contamination originated from horses.