Correlations Between Microbial Indicators, Pathogens, and Environmental Factors in a Subtropical Estuary

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The objective of this study was to evaluate whether indicator microbes and physical-chemical parameters were correlated with pathogens within a tidally influenced Estuary. Measurements included the analysis of physical-chemical parameters (pH, salinity, temperature, and turbidity), measurements of bacterial indicators (enterococci, fecal coliform, Escherichia coli, and total coliform), viral indicators (somatic and MS2 coliphage), viral pathogens (enterovirus by culture), and protozoan pathogens (Cryptosporidium and Giardia). All pathogen results were negative with the exception of one sample which tested positive for culturable reovirus (8.5 MPN/100 L). Notable physical-chemical parameters for this sample included low salinity (<1 ppt) and high water temperature (31 °C). Indicator bacteria and indicator virus levels for this sample were within average values typically measured within the study site and were low in comparison with levels observed in other freshwater environments. Overall results suggest that high levels of bacterial and viral indicators were associated with low salinity sites.



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