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Tracking Salmonella species from Water to Source

RTS# MI-0108

By: Mark J. Wolcott1, Brenda M. Berlowski1, Sheridan K. Haack2, and Richard L. Whitman3


The 63rd Street Beach, Chicago, has experienced occasional beach closures for exceeding recreational water quality standards. The beach area has a large resident seagull population implicated as a source for excessive fecal coliform and E. coli levels in the water. Although determination of E. coli levels is one of the best methods for determining water quality, typically E. coli is not a human nor an animal pathogen and is used only as an indicator for water contaminated with fecal material. The purpose of this study was to determine the presence of a human and animal pathogen, Salmonella, in the beach and to employ DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)-fingerprinting to evaluate the relationship between Salmonella in seagulls and those in water and sediments at the beach. Samples of beach water, beach sediments and seagull feces were collected in May and August 2000. Isolates were analyzed by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns of restricted DNA and cluster analysis to determine similarity between isolates. Preliminary results indicate that seagulls contribute to Salmonella in water and sediment at the 63rd Street Beach. This study used a specific bacterial pathogen to allow tracking back to potential sources of contamination. Results will be of interest to scientists, regulatory agencies, and resource managers.

Wolcott, Mark J.1, Brenda M. Berlowski, 1, Sheridan K. Haack, 2, and Richard L. Whitman, 3, 2001. Tracking Salmonella species from Water to Source, Great Lakes Beach Conference, Chicago, IL, Feb 5-8, 2001. RTS# MI-0108

1U.S. Geological Survey, Madison, WI, 2U.S. Geological Survey, Lansing, MI, 48911; 3U.S. Geological Survey, Porter, IN

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