International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information
International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

Home Hygiene & Health

The Leading Source of Scientific, Professional & Consumer Information

Hands, water, and health: fecal contamination in Tanzanian communities with improved, non-networked water supplies

This study measured levels of E. coli, faecal streptococci, and occurrence of the general Bacteroidales faecal DNA marker in source water, in stored water, and on hands in 334 households among communities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where residents use non-networked water sources. Levels of faecal contamination on hands of mothers and children were positively correlated to faecal contamination in stored drinking water within households. Household characteristics associated with hand contamination included mother's educational attainment, use of an improved toilet, an infant in the household, and dissatisfaction with the quantity of water available for hygiene. In addition, faecal contamination on hands was associated with the prevalence of gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms within a household. The results suggest that reducing faecal contamination on hands should be investigated as a strategy for improving stored drinking water quality and health among households using non-networked water supplies. Environ Sci Technol. 2010;44(9):3267-72.