Shared first author.
Presence of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli in biofilms formed in water containers in poor households coincides with epidemic seasons in Dhaka
Article first published online: 11 JAN 2013
© 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Volume 114, Issue 4, pages 1223–1229, April 2013
How to Cite
Ahmed, D., Islam, M.S., Begum, Y.A., Janzon, A., Qadri, F. and Sjöling, Å. (2013), Presence of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli in biofilms formed in water containers in poor households coincides with epidemic seasons in Dhaka. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 114: 1223–1229. doi: 10.1111/jam.12109
- Issue published online: 18 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 11 JAN 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 26 DEC 2012 07:30AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 10 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Received: 4 JUL 2012
- drinking water;
- enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli;
The objective of this study was to investigate if biofilms may be potential reservoirs for the waterborne pathogen enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) in household water in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Methods and Results
Biofilms formed on submerged glass slides. Mature biofilms were found significantly more often on glass slides collected in the monsoon period between the two annual ETEC peaks in Bangladesh, that is, between May and August than the rest of the year (P < 0·03). Sixty-four per cent (49/77) of all biofilms analysed by quantitative real-time PCR were positive for ETEC. Significantly more ETEC-PCR positive biofilms were found during the epidemic peaks and during flooding periods than the rest of the year (P < 0·008). Planktonic ETEC was present in the household water during all seasons, but there was no correlation between presence or numbers of ETEC in water and the epidemic peaks.
We conclude that ETEC is continuously present in water and biofilms in household water reservoirs in Dhaka, which has a high prevalence of ETEC diarrhoea. The frequency of biofilms with ETEC was significantly associated (P < 0·008) with seasonal epidemic peaks of ETEC diarrhoea.
Significance and impact of the study
We show for the first time that enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), the causative agent of acute watery diarrhoea and travellers' diarrhoea is present in biofilms in household water tanks in Dhaka, Bangladesh.