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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Investigations - Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Environment

Emerging Microbial Contaminants - Local-, State-, and Regional-Scale Research

Studies of shiga-toxin positive E. coli, and of antibiotic-resistant E. coli and enterococci, in surface waters in Michigan and Indiana.Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria carrying Shiga-toxin genes (STEC) have been implicated in a number of waterborne outbreaks; however, the occurrence and distribution of STEC in U.S. waters has been little studied. Several recent studies outside the U.S. indicate human interaction with rural or farm environments plays a role in dissemination of STEC disease. STEC are generally associated with animal sources, with cattle being the primary recognized source of the STEC serotype (E. coli O157:H7) associated with severe disease in the U.S. However, STEC have also been detected in urban rivers and sewage effluent. The Toxic Substances Hydrology Program is studying relations between indicators of the presence of STEC and measures of land-use and water quality, including concentrations of selected pesticides and organic wastewater constituents, in both agricultural (St. Joseph River in Indiana and Michigan, Pinnebog River, Pigeon River, and River Raisin in Michigan) and urban (headwaters of 5 rivers in Oakland County, Michigan). In addition, E. coli and enterococci from some samples are being examined for the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant genes, and for genes indicating transfer of these resistances from other bacteria.

Available Publications

Haack, S.K.. Duris, J.W., Kolpin, D.W., and Focazio, M.J., 2003, Pathogenic Bacteria in Surface Waters: Occurrence and Association with Environmental Factors: Natural Science and Public Health: Prescription for a Better Environment, April 1-3, Reston, VA.

Duris, J.W., Haack, S.K., Reeves, H.W., and Kiesler, J.L., Jr., 2003, Pathogenic Escherichia coli from Agricultural Watersheds in Michigan and Indiana: American Water Resources Association Spring Specialty Conference on Agricultural Hydrology, May 12-14, Kansas City, MO.

More Information

  • Project contact: Sheridan Haack

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