Associations among household animal ownership, infrastructure, and hygiene characteristics with source attribution of household fecal contamination in Peri-urban communities of Iquitos, Peru

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Colston, Josh M.
Davis, Meghan F.
Garcia Bardales, Paul F.
Kosek, Margaret N.
Olortegui, Maribel P.
Pisanic, Nora
Schiaffino, Francesca
Shapiama Lopez, Wagner V.
Trigoso, Dixner. R.
Yori, Pablo P.
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American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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Using previously validated microbial source tracking markers, we detected and quantified fecal contamination from avian species and avian exposure, dogs, and humans on household cooking tables and floors. The association among contamination, infrastructure, and socioeconomic covariates was assessed using simple and multiple ordinal logistic regressions. The presence of Campylobacter spp. in surface samples was linked to avian markers. Using molecular methods, animal feces were detected in 75.0% and human feces in 20.2% of 104 households. Floors were more contaminated than tables as detected by the avian marker Av4143, dog marker Bactcan, and human marker Bachum. Wood tables were consistently more contaminated than non-wood surfaces, specifically with the mitochondrial avian markers ND5 and CytB, fecal marker Av4143, and canine marker Bactcan. Final multivariable models with socioeconomic and infrastructure characteristics included as covariates indicate that detection of avian feces and avian exposure was associated with the presence of chickens, maternal age, and length of tenancy, whereas detection of human markers was associated with unimproved water source. Detection of Campylobacter in surface samples was associated with the avian fecal marker Av4143. We highlight the critical need to detect and measure the burden of animal fecal waste when evaluating household water, hygiene, and sanitation interventions, and the possibility of decreasing risk of exposure through the modification of surfaces to permit more effective household disinfection practices. Animals may be a more important source of household fecal contamination than humans in many low-resource settings, although interventions have historically focused almost exclusively on managing human waste. © 2021 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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Virology, Infectious Diseases, Parasitology