The Impact of Treated Wastewaters on Fish Bacterial Flora: A Public Health Perspective

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Wastewaters from a treatment plant discharging into a canal harboring fish may present sources of microbiological hazard for wild fish. Such fish, inhabiting microbiologically polluted bodies of water, can be contaminated by human pathogens and, if used for human consumption, may pose a risk to public health. Hence, in this work the aim was to identify tested strains from tissues of wild fish living in the receiving water bodies, captured from locations up to 12 km from the point of discharge of treated water of town Virovitica in order to assess the bacterial threat of the WWTP on fish and potentially on public health. A rather rich diversity of bacterial genera was isolated from gill tissues and internal organs. The most frequent isolate was Aeromonas hydrophila which has gained public health recognition as an opportunistic pathogen. Vibrio cholerae, an indicator bacterium for aquatic contamination, was retrieved from all investigated tissues. Opportunistic human pathogens as well as some zoonotic agents were also retrieved from fish tissues (Enterobacter amnigenus, Acinetobacter spp., Ochrobactrum anthropi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Flavimonas (Pseudomonas) oryzihabitans, Shewanella putrefaciens and others). Public health hazard is particularly pronounced regarding local recreational fishermen who fish out, handle and consume fish from respective waters.

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