Opportunistic fungal pathogens are a concern because of the increasing number of immunocompromised patients. The goal of this research was to test a simple extraction method and rapid quantitative PCR (QPCR) measurement of the occurrence of potential pathogens, Aspergillus fumigatus, A. flavus, A. terreus and A. niger, in home tap water and a hospital water supply.
Water samples were taken from the kitchen tap in the homes of 60 patients who were diagnosed with legionellosis. Water samples were also taken from three locations in a hospital that generated all of its hot water by flash heating. Opportunistic infectious agents Aspergillus fumigatus, A. flavus, A. terreus and A. niger were measured using QPCR. Aspergillus terreus DNA was found in 16.7% and A. fumigatus DNA in 1.7% of the samples taken from the kitchen tap. None of the Aspergillus species were found in any of the hospital water samples.
The development of a simple DNA extraction method along with QPCR analysis is suitable for rapid screening of tap water for opportunistic fungal pathogens. This simple method can be used to obtain pathogen occurrence results in about 3 h, instead of waiting days to weeks for culture data. Obtaining pathogen occurrence data in a timely manner could promote the elimination of the pathogens from the water supply of immunocompromised patients.