• Transport of fecal bacteria in a rural Alaskan community

      Chambers, Molly Katelyn (2005-12)
      People living without piped water and sewer can be at increased risk for fecal-oral diseases. One Alaskan village that relies on hauled water and honeybuckets was studied to determine the pathways of fecal contamination of drinking water and the human environment so that barriers can be established to protect health. Samples were tested for the fecal indicators Escherichia coli and Enterococcus. Several samples were also tested for the pathogens Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum. All terrain vehicle (ATV) use and foot traffic transported bacteria within the village and into the home. Surface water flow transported bacteria within the community during spring thaw, but flow from the dump did not appear to contribute to contamination in town. Within the home, viable fecal bacteria were found on waterdippers, kitchen counters and floors, and in washbasin water. Giardia was found at the dump, but not in water from the river adjacent the community. Exposure to fecal contamination could be reduced by cleaning up after dogs, careful disposal of honey bucket bags and gray water, and by protecting stored drinking water.