Opportunistic Premise Plumbing Pathogens: Increasingly Important Pathogens in Drinking Water
Falkinham, Joseph O.
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Opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens are responsible for a significant number of infections whose origin has been traced to drinking water. These opportunistic pathogens represent an emerging water borne disease problem with a major economic cost of at least $1 billion annually. The common features of this group of waterborne pathogens include: disinfectant-resistance, pipe surface adherence and biofilm formation, growth in amoebae, growth on low organic concentrations, and growth at low oxygen levels. Their emergence is due to the fact that conditions resulting from drinking water treatment select for them. As such, there is a need for novel approaches to reduce exposure to these pathogens. In addition to much-needed research, controls to reduce numbers and human exposure can be instituted independently by utilities and homeowners and hospital- and building-operators.