“Well water quality in rural Nicaragua using a low-cost bacterial test and microbial source tracking”

Water related diseases, particularly diarrhea, are major contributors to morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Monitoring water quality on a global scale is crucial to making progress in terms of population health. Traditional analytical methods are difficult to use in many regions of the world in low-resource settings that face severe water quality issues due to the inaccessibility of laboratories. This study aimed to evaluate a new low-cost method, the Compartment Bag Test (CBT)) in rural Nicaragua.

The Aquagenx CBT was used to quantify the presence of Escherichia coli in drinking water wells and aimed to determine the source(s) of any microbial contamination. Results indicate that the CBT is a viable method for use in remote rural regions. The overall quality of well water in Pueblo Nuevo, Nicaragua was deemed unsafe, and results led to the conclusion that animal fecal wastes may be one of the leading causes of well contamination. Elevation and depth of wells were not found to impact overall water quality. However rope-pump wells had a 64.1% reduction in contamination when compared with simple wells.

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