Microbiological Assessment of Sachet Water in Ghana, West Africa

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Water sachets are primary sources of drinking water in developing countries. These small sealed packets of water are inexpensive and sold on the streets with little information about their sources. The aim of this study was to enumerate microbiological contamination in sachet water. A total of 234 bags were collected from five different locations in Ghana from 2014 to 2016. Samples were tested for culturable total coliform and Escherichia coli on site. E. coli and microbial source tracking markers were detected by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) after transporting the filters to the USA laboratory. According to the on-site culture results, 86% of the samples were positive for total coliform and 4% were positive for Escherichia coli. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) results showed that 61% of the samples were positive for E. coli, indicating that these packages had been filled with contaminated water. Ongoing analyses on microbial source tracking markers will identify the sources of contamination. Data collected from the labels on these packages showed that the expiration date and batch numbers were missing from all (100%) of the labels, indicating that these bags are lacking regulatory mandates to protect public health. These results are particularly important in the global context because better enforcement of existing policies and stronger regulations are needed to improve drinking water quality as the demand for safe affordable water is continuing to increase in developing countries.


Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting and ToxExpo (SOT)


Atlanta, GA