Only low effects of water filters on the enteric carriage of gastrointestinal pathogen DNA in Colombian indigenous people
Water filtration is a common strategy of water sanitation in resource-poor tropical settings. Here, we assessed the intermediate term effect of this preventive procedure including specific filter-related as well as general hygiene training on the molecular detection of enteric pathogens in stool samples from Colombian Indigenous people. From a total of 89 individuals from an Indigenous tribe called Wiwa, stool samples were assessed by real-time PCR for enteropathogenic microorganisms prior to the implementation of water filtration-based infection prevention. Three years after the onset of the preventive strategy, a follow-up assessment was performed. A significantly beneficial effect of water filtration could be shown for Ascaris spp. only (p = 0.035) and a tendency (p = 0.059) for Hymenolepis nana. No hints for effects on the gastrointestinal shedding of Giardia duodenalis, Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium spp., Campylobacter spp., Shigella spp./enteroinvasive Escherichia coli, Necator americanus, Strongyloides stercoralis, Trichuris trichiura, and Taenia spp. were seen. In conclusion, the study indicates that water filtration can only be an element of a multi-modal hygiene concept to reduce enteric pathogen carriage in inhabitants of resource-poor tropical settings in spite of tendencies of beneficial effects.