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Eutrophication and bacterial pathogens as risk factors for avian botulism outbreaks in wetlands receiving effluents from urban wastewater treatment plants

AutorAnza, Ibone ; Vidal, Dolors ; Laguna, Celia; Díaz-Sánchez, Sandra ; Sánchez, Sergio ; Chicote, Álvaro; Florín, Máximo; Mateo, Rafael
Fecha de publicación2014
EditorAmerican Society for Microbiology
CitaciónApplied and Environmental Microbiology 80(14): 4251-4259 (2014)
ResumenDue to the scarcity of water resources in the >Mancha Húmeda> Biosphere Reserve, the use of treated wastewater has been proposed as a solution for the conservation of natural threatened floodplain wetlands. In addition, wastewater treatment plants of many villages pour their effluent into nearby natural lakes. We hypothesized that certain avian pathogens present in wastewater may cause avian mortalities which would trigger avian botulism outbreaks. With the aim of testing our hypothesis, 24 locations distributed in three wetlands, two that receive wastewater effluents and one serving as a control, were monitored during a year. Sediment, water, water bird feces, and invertebrates were collected for the detection of putative avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC), Salmonella spp., Clostridium perfringens type A, and Clostridium botulinum type C/D. Also, water and sediment physicochemical properties were determined. Overall, APEC, C. perfringens, and C. botulinum were significantly more prevalent in samples belonging to the wetlands which receive wastewater. The occurrence of a botulism outbreak in one of the studied wetlands coincided with high water temperatures and sediment 5-day biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), a decrease in water redox potential, chlorophyll a, and sulfate levels, and an increase in water inorganic carbon levels. The presence of C. botulinum in bird feces before the onset of the outbreak indicates that carrier birds exist and highlights the risk of botulinum toxin production in their carcasses if they die by other causes such as bacterial diseases, which are more probable in wastewater wetlands.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1128/AEM.00949-14
e-issn: 1098-5336
issn: 0099-2240
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