This paper aimed to assess the magnitude of sewage pollution in an urban lake in Dhaka, Bangladesh, by using quantitative PCR of sewage-associated Bacteroides HF183 markers. PCR was also used for the quantitative detection of ruminant wastewater-associated CF128 markers along with the enumeration of traditional fecal indicator bacteria, namely enterococci. The number of enterococci in lake water samples ranged from 1.1 × 104 to 1.9 × 105 colony-forming units/ 100 mL water. From the 20 water samples tested, 14 (70%) and 7 (35%) were PCR positive for HF183 and CF128 markers, respectively. The numbers of HF183 and CF128 markers in lake water samples were 3.9 × 104 to 6.3 × 107 and 9.3 × 103 to 6.3 × 105 genomic units/100 mL water, respectively. The high numbers of enterococci and HF183 markers are indicative of sewage pollution and potential health risks to those who use the lake water for nonpotable purposes such as bathing and washing clothes. This is the first study that investigated the presence of microbial source tracking markers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where diarrhoeal disease is one of the major causes of childhood mortality. The molecular assay used in this study can provide valuable information on the extent of sewage pollution, thus facilitating the development of robust strategies to minimize potential health risks.
Canadian Journal of Microbiology / Vol. 56, No. 10, pp.838-845