The use of untreated water for drinking and other activities have been associated with intestinal and extraintestinal infections in humans due to Aeromonas species. In the present study aeromonads were isolated from 48.7% of 1,000 water samples obtained from wells and other miscellaneous sources. Aeromonas species were detected in 45% of samples tested in spring, 34.5% in summer, 48% in autumn and 60% of samples tested in winter. Speciation of 382 strains resulted in 225 (59%) being A. hydrophila, 103 (27%) A. caviae, 42 (11%) A. sobria and 11 (3%) atypical aeromonads. Of 171 Aeromonas strains tested for their haemolytic activity, 53%, 49%, 40% and 37% were positive in this assay using human, horse, sheep and camel erythrocytes respectively. The results obtained indicate that potentially enteropathogenic Aeromonas species are commonly present in untreated drinking water obtained from wells in Libya (this may also apply to other neighbouring countries) which may pose a health problem to users of such water supplies. In addition, ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin are suitable drugs that can be used in the treatment of Aeromonas-associated infections, particularly in the immunocompromised, resulting from contact with untreated sources of water.
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