Study survey’s health risk in NZ rivers

Published: Wed 18 Dec 2019 10:13 AM
18 December 2020
Media Release
A pilot study gathering data on the human health risks posed by New Zealand rivers and streams is getting underway this summer.
Scientists from ESR are leading the pilot study analysing a range of pathogens in freshwater, to begin updating the data that quantifies the risks for people using them for recreation.
The Ministry for the Environment funded Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) pilot project will analyse samples from 16 freshwater sites from Northland to Southland.
The purpose of the pilot is to test methods for a comprehensive nationwide QMRA study, which if funded, is expected to begin in late 2020.
The last study of this type was a survey carried out over 20 years ago. That study informed New Zealand’s recreational water quality guidelines which were established in 2003. These are the principal guidelines used by regional and unitary councils to manage health risks posed by faecal pollution.
Scientists say that since the last national survey there have been significant changes in land use and waste management practises, which may have led to changes in the presence or abundance of pathogens in New Zealand’s freshwaters, or their relationship with the microbial indicators that are used for monitoring.
ESR microbiologist Dr Sarah Coxon says the most commonly recognised risk to human health posed by contact with freshwater is faecal contamination, which can contain a range of pathogenic organisms, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa.
Dr Coxon says since the last full QMRA survey there have also been significant advances in laboratory analyses that allow more sensitive detection of pathogens, and characterisation of the risk they pose to people’s health.
“We need to ensure that the public health advice in the guidelines accounts for any change, and is correctly estimating the human health risk.”
The pilot will be analysing water samples for a range of pathogens including Campylobacter, Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, adenoviruses, enteroviruses, and noroviruses. The samples will be compared with indicator organisms E.coli and enterococci, as well as markers for sources of faecal identification.
The pilot gets underway in late January 2020 and results are expected in June 2020. The results will inform a full QMRA study which is expected to take around three years.

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

Misinformation Circulating On Biodiversity Policy
By: Forest And Bird
Scientists Say Methane Emitted By Humans ‘vastly Underestimated’
Record Dry Spells And Effects On Forests – Expert Reaction
By: Science Media Centre
Official Cash Rate Remains At 1.0 Percent
By: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand
Novel coronavirus detected in China –Expert Reaction
By: Science Media Centre
Launch Of Parliament Petition To Remove Aluminium Dross
By: New Zealand First Party
UPDATE: Elderly West Coast Man To Lose 70% Of Farm In SNA ‘landgrab’.
By: Lois Williams - Local Democracy Reporter
Blatant Attack On Private Property Rights
By: New Conservative
Scaling Climate Finance: Forest Finance Instruments
By: The Policy Observatory
Biodiversity process earns praise
By: Forest And Bird - Federated Farmers
Global Rescue Plan to Stop Mass Extinction 'Hopelessly Weak'
By: Common Dreams
23 Former Diplomats Urge Global Leaders To Adopt Paris-Style Agreement To Protect Biodiversity
By: Common Dreams - Jessica Corbett
Scoop Coverage: Biodiversity Information and Journalism
By: Scoop Full Coverage
I tried to believe capitalism and the planet can coexist
By: The Conversation
Damning New Report Says Every Nation Undermining Children
By: Common Dreams - Andrea Germanos
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media