Water quality and sanitation are inextricably linked to prevalence and control of soil-transmitted helminth infections, a public health concern in resource-limited settings. India bears a large burden of disease associated with poor sanitation. Transformative onsite sanitation technologies are being developed that feature elimination of pathogens including helminth eggs in wastewater treatment. We are conducting third-party testing of multiple sanitation technology systems in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) India. To ensure stringent testing of the pathogen removal ability of sanitation technologies, the presence of helminth eggs in wastewater across the town of Coimbatore was assessed. Wastewater samples from existing test sites as well as desludging trucks servicing residential and non-residential septic tanks, were collected. The AmBic methodology (based on washing, sieving, sedimenting and floating) was used for helminth egg isolation. We tested 29 different source samples and found a 52% prevalence of potentially infective helminth eggs. Identification and enumeration of helminth species is reported against the septage source (private residential vs. shared toilet facility) and total solids content. Trichuris egg counts were higher than those of hookworm and Ascaris from desludging trucks, whereas hookworm egg counts were higher in fresh wastewater samples. Surprisingly, no correlation between soil transmitted helminth eggs and total solids was observed.
Soil-transmitted helminth eggs assessment in wastewater in an urban area in India