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Detection of hepatitis E virus and other livestock-related pathogens in Iowa streams

June 16, 2016

Manure application is a source of pathogens to the environment. Through overland runoff and tile drainage, zoonotic pathogens can contaminate surface water and streambed sediment and could affect both wildlife and human health. This study examined the environmental occurrence of gene markers for livestock-related bacterial, protozoan, and viral pathogens and antibiotic resistance in surface waters within the South Fork Iowa River basin before and after periods of swine manure application on agricultural land. Increased concentrations of indicator bacteria after manure application exceeding Iowa's state bacteria water quality standards suggest that swine manure contributes to diminished water quality and may pose a risk to human health. Additionally, the occurrence of HEV and numerous bacterial pathogen genes for Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp., Salmonella sp., and Staphylococcus aureus in both manure samples and in corresponding surface water following periods of manure application suggests a potential role for swine in the spreading of zoonotic pathogens to the surrounding environment. During this study, several zoonotic pathogens were detected including Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, Campylobacter jejuni, pathogenic enterococci, and S. aureus; all of which can pose mild to serious health risks to swine, humans, and other wildlife. This research provides the foundational understanding required for future assessment of the risk to environmental health from livestock-related zoonotic pathogen exposures in this region. This information could also be important for maintaining swine herd biosecurity and protecting the health of wildlife near swine facilities.

Publication Year 2016
Title Detection of hepatitis E virus and other livestock-related pathogens in Iowa streams
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.123
Authors Carrie E. Givens, Dana W. Kolpin, Mark A. Borchardt, Joseph W. Duris, Thomas B. Moorman, Susan K. Spencer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science of the Total Environment
Index ID 70174882
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Michigan Water Science Center; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program