Aeromonads are inhabitants of aquatic ecosystems and are described as being involved in intestinal disturbances and other infections. A total of 200 drinking water samples from domestic and public reservoirs and drinking fountains located in São Paulo (Brazil), were analyzed for the presence of Aeromonas. Samples were concentrated by membrane filtration and enriched in APW. ADA medium was used for Aeromonas isolation and colonies were confirmed by biochemical characterization. Strains isolated were tested for hemolysin and toxin production. Aeromonas was detected in 12 samples (6.0%). Aeromonas strains (96) were isolated and identified as: A. caviae (41.7%), A.hydrophila (15.7%), A.allosacharophila (10.4%), A. schubertii (1.0%) and Aeromonas spp. (31.2%).The results revealed that 70% of A. caviae, 66.7% of A. hydrophila, 80% of A. allosacharophila and 46.6% of Aeromonas spp. were hemolytic. The assay for checking production of toxins showed that 17.5% of A. caviae, 73.3% of A. hydrophila, 60% of A. allosacharophila, 100% of A. schubertii, and 33.3% of Aeromonas spp. were able to produce toxins. The results demonstrated the pathogenic potential of Aeromonas, indicating that the presence of this emerging pathogen in water systems is a public health concern.

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