The National Academies Press

Indicators for Waterborne Pathogens
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Recent and forecasted advances in microbiology, molecular biology, and analytical chemistry have made it timely to reassess the current paradigm of relying predominantly or exclusively on traditional bacterial indicators for all types of waterborne pathogens. Nonetheless, indicator approaches will still be required for the foreseeable future because it is not practical or feasible to monitor for the complete spectrum of microorganisms that may occur in water, and many known pathogens are difficult to detect directly and reliably in water samples.

This comprehensive report recommends the development and use of a tool box approach by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and others for assessing microbial water quality in which available indicator organisms (and/or pathogens in some cases) and detection method(s) are matched to the requirements of a particular application. The report further recommends the use of a phased, three-level monitoring framework to support the selection of indicators and indicator approaches.


Publication Info

332 pages | 6x9
ISBN: 978-0-309-09122-0

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. Indicators for Waterborne Pathogens. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004.

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