Bacteriological quality of drinking water From water vendors in Tripoli-Libya

Original article


Nashnoush H 1, Elsharef MM 1, Ben Ramadan AA 2, Albakoush M 2, Ghenghesh KS 3

1-Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Al-Fateh University, Tripoli-Libya. 2-Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Fateh University for Medical Sciences, Tripoli-Libya. 3-Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Fateh University for Medical Sciences, Tripoli-Libya.

Libyan J Infect Dis. 2009;3(2):7-12


Objectives: Waterborne infections and outbreaks are usually associated with contaminated and poor quality drinking water sources. The aims of the present study were to determine the bacteriological quality of drinking water from water vendors in Tripoli, Libya, isolate the potentially pathogenic bacteria from water samples and determine the susceptibility of the isolated organisms to the commonly used antimicrobial agents.
Methods: From the 2nd of February to the 2nd of March 2008, 50 drinking water samples were bought from 50 local purified-water vendors in Tripoli. Using standard bacteriological procedures, samples were examined for coliform counts and for enteric bacteria, Aeromonas spp. and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Isolated bacteria were tested for their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents by the disc diffusion method.
Results: Coliforms were detected in 9 (18%) and E. coli in 4 (8%) of the drinking water samples examined. Of the 44 potentially pathogenic bacteria isolated (more than one bacterial species isolated from some samples), 18 (41%) were identified as enteric bacteria, 8 (18%) Aeromonas spp., and 18 (41%) P. aeruginosa. Multiple-drug resistance (resistance to >3 antimicrobial agents) was observed in more than 75% of the isolated organisms.
Conclusion: Multiple drug-resistant bacteria that are potentially pathogenic to humans are common in drinking water from water vendors in Tripoli. The water, environment and health authorities (particularly on the municipal level) in the country have to make sure that drinking water provided by private water vendors is of good quality and does not pose a risk to public health.

Keywords: Drinking water, water vendors, coliforms, Aeromonas, antimicrobial resistance, Libya.