BACKGROUND: In light of rampant childhood diarrhoea, this study investigated bacterial pathogens from human and non-human sources in an urban informal settlement. Meat from informal abattoirs (n = 85), river water (n = 64), and diarrheic stool (n = 66) were collected between September 2015 and May 2016. A duplex real-time PCR, gel-based PCR, and CHROMagar™STEC were used to screen Tryptic Soy Broth (TSB) for diarrheic E. coli. Standard methods were used to screen for other selected food and waterborne bacterial pathogens.
RESULTS: Pathogens isolated from stool, meat, and surface water included Salmonella enterica (6, 5, 0%), Plesiomonas shigelloides (9, 0, 17%), Aeromonas sobria (3, 3, 0%), Campylobacter jejuni (5, 5, 0%), Shigella flexneri (17, 5, 0%), Vibrio vulnificus (0, 0, 9%), and diarrheic E. coli (21, 3, 7%) respectively. All the isolates were resistant to trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole.
CONCLUSIONS: There was a high burden of drug resistant diarrheal pathogens in the stool, surface water and meat from informal slaughter. Integrated control measures are needed to ensure food safety and to prevent the spread of drug resistant pathogens in similar settings.