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Effect of Sanitation Improvements on Pathogens and Microbial Source Tracking Markers in the Rural Bangladeshi Household Environment.

  • Fuhrmeister, Erica R
  • Ercumen, Ayse
  • Pickering, Amy J
  • Jeanis, Kaitlyn M
  • Crider, Yoshika
  • Ahmed, Mahaa
  • Brown, Sara
  • Alam, Mahfuja
  • Sen, Debashis
  • Islam, Sharmin
  • Kabir, Mir Himayet
  • Islam, Mahfuza
  • Rahman, Mahbubur
  • Kwong, Laura H
  • Arnold, Benjamin F
  • Luby, Stephen P
  • Colford, John M
  • Nelson, Kara L
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2020
eScholarship - University of California
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Diarrheal illnesses from enteric pathogens are a leading cause of death in children under five in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Sanitation is one way to reduce the spread of enteric pathogens in the environment; however, few studies have investigated the effectiveness of sanitation in rural LMICs in reducing pathogens in the environment. In this study, we measured the impact of a sanitation intervention (dual-pit latrines, sani-scoops, child potties delivered as part of a randomized control trial, WASH Benefits) in rural Bangladeshi household compounds by assessing prevalence ratios, differences, and changes in the concentration of pathogen genes and host-specific fecal markers. We found no difference in the prevalence of pathogenic Escherichia coli, norovirus, or Giardia genes in the domestic environment in the sanitation and control arms. The prevalence of the human fecal marker was lower on child hands and the concentration of animal fecal marker was lower on mother hands in the sanitation arm in adjusted models, but these associations were not significant after correcting for multiple comparisons. In the subset of households with ≥10 individuals per compound, the prevalence of enterotoxigenic E. coli genes on child hands was lower in the sanitation arm. Incomplete removal of child and animal feces or the compound (versus community-wide) scale of intervention could explain the limited impacts of improved sanitation.

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