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

Givens, Carrie E., Kolpin, Dana W., Borchardt, Mark A., Duris, Joseph W., Moorman, Thomas B., Spencer, Susan K.
The Science of the total environment 2016 v.566-567 pp. 1042-1051
Staphylococcus aureus, biosecurity, Protozoa, watersheds, genes, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, pig manure, sediments, Orthohepevirus A, risk, human health, Campylobacter jejuni, runoff, surface water, pathogens, water quality, humans, agricultural land, herds, indicator species, Enterococcus, manure spreading, tile drainage, environmental assessment, wildlife, swine, antibiotic resistance, Salmonella, stream channels, water quality standards, environmental health, bacteria, Iowa
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.