Abstract

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an environmental bacterium, ubiquitous in aquatic habitats and water distribution systems, including dental unit waterlines (DUWLs). We investigated the prevalence of P. aeruginosa in DUWLs from private dental settings. We also analyzed the relationship between P. aeruginosa contamination and the presence of Legionella spp. and total viable count (TVC) in order to suggest a simple and inexpensive protocol to test the quality of water from DUWLs. We detected and quantified P. aeruginosa both by culture and by a PMA (propidium monoazide)-qPCR method. Overall, we detected P. aeruginosa in 17 samples using the PMA-qPCR and in 11 samples using the culture. All culture-positive samples were positive with the PMA-qPCR too, with an agreement between the two methods of 93% and a Cohen's kappa coefficient of κ = 0.747 (good concordance). Comparing results with results of our previous study, we noted that (a) P. aeruginosa was isolated only from DUWLs with high TVC and (b) five out of six Legionella-positive samples were negative for Pseudomonas spp. Our final suggestion is that the cleanliness of DUWLs should be assessed by TVC because it is a good indicator of the presence of pathogens such as Legionella spp. and P. aeruginosa.

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