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Despite all safety efforts, drinking and wastewater can still be contaminated by Legionella and free-living amoebae (FLA) since these microorganisms are capable of resisting disinfection treatments. An amoebae cyst harboring pathogenic Legionella spp. can be a transporter of this organism, protecting it and enhancing its infection abilities. Therefore, the aim of this work is to identify by DVC-FISH viable Legionella spp and Legionella pneumophila cells inside FLA from water sources in a specific and rapid way with the aim of assessing the real risk of these waters. A total of 55 water samples were processed, 30 reclaimed wastewater and 25 drinking water. FLA presence was detected in 52.7% of the total processed water samples. When DVC-FISH technique was applied, the presence of viable internalized Legionella spp. cells was identified in 69.0% of the total FLA-positive samples, concretely in 70.0% and 66.7% of wastewater and drinking water samples, respectively. L. pneumophila was simultaneously identified in 48.3% of the total FLA-positive samples, specifically in 50.0% and 44.4% of wastewater and drinking water samples, respectively. By culture, potentially pathogenic Legionella cells were recovered in 27.6% of the total FLA-positive bacteria, particularly in 35.0% and 11.1% of wastewater and drinking water samples, respectively. These findings demonstrate that FLA may promote resistance of bacteria to the performed disinfection treatments for drinking as well as for wastewater. So, in addition to the risk for the presence of pathogenic FLA in water it is necessary to take into account that these can be transporters of the pathogenic bacteria Legionella, which are able to survive inside them. The DVC-FISH method described here has been proved to be a rapid and specific tool to identify pathogenic Legionella spp. and L. penumophila viable cells harboured by FLA in these water sources, posing particular public health concern.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Environmental research
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A species of Aeromonas that occurs mostly as single cells in soil and freshwater environments. It also inhabits the digestive tract of the leech HIRUDO MEDICINALIS, where it aids in the digestion of blood and prevents colonization by other bacteria. It is pathogenic in fish and potentially in humans who consume infected fish or immunocompromised patients receiving LEECH THERAPY.
A genus of aerobic, helical spirochetes, some species of which are pathogenic, others free-living or saprophytic.
A family of bacteria ranging from free living and saprophytic to parasitic and pathogenic forms.
A large and diverse group in the order CAMPYLOBACTERALES, individual species of which grow in aerobic and anaerobic conditions as free-living, commensal, or pathogenic forms.
A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria in the genus LEGIONELLA, first isolated in Long Beach, California. Infection is associated with the use of potting SOIL.
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