Abstract

The presence of Waddlia chondrophila has been related to respiratory tract infections and human and animal fetal death. Although several sources of infection have been suggested, the actual source remains unknown and limited information exists on the prevalence of W. chondrophila in the environment. This pathogen has been previously detected in well water but its presence has not been confirmed in water networks. Since these bacteria have been detected in water reservoirs, it has been hypothesized that they can access artificial water systems and survive until they find appropriate conditions to proliferate. In this work, their presence in water samples from 19 non-domestic water networks was tested by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Approximately half of the networks (47%) were positive for W. chondrophila and the overall results revealed 20% positive samples (12/59). Furthermore, most of the samples showed low concentrations of the pathogen (<200 genomic units/L). This finding demonstrates that W. chondrophila can colonize some water networks. Therefore, they must be considered as potential infection sources in future epidemiological studies.

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