Background: Investigating of the presence of Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) strains and their antibiotic resistance in natural spring waters and tap waters from two university hospitals, in Istanbul.
Methods: E. coli strains isolated from water samples were identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method using stx-1, stx-2, eaeA genes specific for EHEC; eaeA, bfp genes specific for EPEC and lt, st genes specific for ETEC. Antibiotic susceptibility tests were done according to the Kirby-Bauer method using The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) criteria.
Results: E. coli strains were isolated from only five (2.7%) out of 184 water samples. Only one of the 36 E. coli strains isolated from these five water samples was found to be extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) positive. According to PCR, ten E. coli strains isolated from one drinking water were identified as ETEC. Other than E. coli strains, coliforms and non-fermentative Gram negative bacteria were also isolated from waters. It was shown that 60 (81.1%) of these 74 strains isolated, other than E. coli, were found to be multiple resistant.
Conclusions: Contrary to our expectations, it has been shown that natural spring waters (drinking waters) can be much more contaminated with fecal bacteria when compared with tap waters. The presence of pathogenic E. coli strains and antibiotic resistant Gram negative bacteria especially in drinking waters emphasize the importance of these types of studies.