Background Current priorities for diarrhoeal disease prevention include use of sanitation and safe water. There have been few attempts to quantify the importance of animal faeces in drinking-water contamination, despite the presence of potentially water-borne zoonotic pathogens in animal faeces. Objectives This study aimed to quantify the relationship between livestock ownership and point-of-consumption drinking-water contamination. Methods Data from nationally representative household surveys in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Ghana, each with associated water quality assessments, were used. Multinomial regression adjusting for confounders was applied to assess the relationship between livestock ownership and the level of drinking-water contamination with E. coli. Results Ownership of five or more large livestock (e.g. cattle) was significantly associated with drinking-water contamination in Ghana (RRR = 7.9, 95% CI = 1.6 to 38.9 for medium levels of contamination with 1–31cfu/100 ml; RRR = 5.2, 95% CI = 1.1–24.5 for high levels of contamination with >31cfu/100 ml) and Bangladesh (RRR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.3–4.5 for medium levels of contamination; non-significant for high levels of contamination). Ownership of eight or more poultry (chickens, guinea fowl, ducks or turkeys) was associated with drinking-water contamination in Bangladesh (RRR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1–2.0 for medium levels of contamination, non-significant for high levels of contamination). Conclusions These results suggest that livestock ownership is a significant risk factor for the contamination of drinking-water at the point of consumption. This indicates that addressing human sanitation without consideration of faecal contamination from livestock sources will not be sufficient to prevent drinking-water contamination.
Wardrop, N. A., Hill, A. G., Dzodzomenyo, M., Aryeetey, G., & Wright, J. A. (2018). Livestock ownership and microbial contamination of drinking-water: Evidence from nationally representative household surveys in Ghana, Nepal and Bangladesh. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 221(1), 33–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2017.09.014