Prevalence of faecal indicator bacteria, Escherichia coli and pathogenic bacteria, Vibrio cholerae, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Salmonella were analysed in Vembanadu lake (9°35′N 76°25′E), along south west coast of India for a period of one year from ten stations on the southern and northern sides of a salt water regulator constructed in Vembanadu Lake in order to prevent incursion of seawater during certain periods of the year. While the northern side of the lake has a connection to the sea, the southern side is enclosed when the salt water regulator is closed. The results revealed the water body is polluted with high faecal coliform bacteria with mean MPN value ranging from 1718-7706/100 ml. E. coli, V. cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus and Salmonella serotypes such as S. paratyphi A, B, C and S. newport were isolated and this is the first report on the isolation of these Salmonella serovars from this lake. E. coli showed highest percentage of incidence (85.6–86.7%) followed by Salmonella (42–57%), V. choleare (40–45%) and V. parahaemolyticus (31.5–32%). The increased prevalence of indicator and pathogenic bacteria in the enclosed southern part of Vembanadu Lake may be resulting from the altered flow patterns due to the salt water regulator.

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