Submitted to: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2005
Publication Date: 1/17/2006
Citation: Lewis, E.J., Leight, A.K., Fayer, R., Trout, J.M., Santin, M., Guber, A.K., Xiao, L., Gooch, J., Fair, P., Hohn, A. 2006. Molecular techniques to detect emerging human pathogens in coastal ecosystems [abstract]. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oceans and Human Health Initiative, January 17-19, 2006, Charleston, SC. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Coastal and inland waters used for recreation and shellfish production are frequently contaminated with human and animal feces that carry parasites and bacteria. There are many potential sources of contamination including, runoff from agricultural land, urban surfaces, and undeveloped land, normal wastewater discharge, and accidental wastewater discharge Human pathogens such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Toxoplasma, and Microsporidia, have been found in estuarine and marine waters, shellfish, and marine mammals. Traditional microscopy techniques are insufficient for identifying species and/or genotypes of parasites that infect humans. Species and genotype identification requires molecular tools such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gene sequencing. Without molecular identification source tracking is not possible. We are currently testing parasite recovery techniques, DNA extraction, PCR, and gene sequencing protocols to optimize methods for detecting pathogens in surface water, sediment, and shellfish. Once optimized and standardized, these techniques will be used for determining the prevalence of pathogens in coastal ecosystems. Subsequently, other PCR techniques may be tested to determine if species and genotypes can be identified directly without the need for expensive and time-consuming gene sequence analysis.