Monitoring the Presence of Bacteria, Fungi and Parasitic Pathogens Associated with Swimming Pools in Port Harcourt Metropolis

Main Article Content

E. O. Onosakponome
A. A. Adedokun
A. A. Dick


Aims: Ideal water for swimming should meet the portable water standard by being transparent, odorless, and tasteless. However, these qualities can be affected by the presence of infectious agents which directly or indirectly contaminate pool water. This study aims at monitoring the microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and protozoa parasites) and pH associated with swimming pool water.

Study Design: A random sampling technique was adopted to select the five (5) swimming pools for the study based on accessibility and visitation.

Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in Port Harcourt Metropolis, Port Harcourt Local Government Area, Rivers State between March 2016 to August 2017.

Methodology: Five (5) outdoor swimming pools attached to hotels in Port Harcourt Metropolis, Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria were randomly selected for the study. Water samples were aseptically collected in duplicates and analyzed for total heterotrophic bacterial count, total heterotrophic fungal count, protozoa and pH using appropriate techniques.

Results: The results show that swimming pools with sodium thiosulphate pentahydrate had a mean THBC range from 4x101 cfu/ml - 1.58x103 cfu/ml, mean THFC, 0 cfu/ml - 8x101 cfu/ml and mean pH, 5.9-6.4; for samples without sodium thiosulphate pentahydrate, the mean THBC ranged from 0 cfu/ml - 9.2x101 cfu/ml, mean THF, 0 cfu/ml - 8x101 cfu/ml and mean pH, 5.6-6-2. Protozoa (parasites) were absent in all water samples analyzed. The results further reveals that 95.9% and 100% of the swimming pools samples failed to the meet the <100 cfu/ml and 7.0 – 7.8 World Health Organisation Standards for THBC and pH respectively. The bacteria identified are Bacillus spp., Escherichia coli, Stapylococcus aureus while the fungi identified are Aspergillus spp., Rhizopus spp. and Penicillium spp.

Conclusion: The study finds the levels of THBC in the samples with sodium thiosulphate pentahydrate, the presence of Escherichia coli and the pH range a threat to health of bathers. Therefore, the owners should ensure routine decontamination and assessment of water quality.

Bacteria, fungi, parasite, Port Harcourt, potable, swimming pool, water.

Article Details

How to Cite
Onosakponome, E. O., Adedokun, A. A., & Dick, A. A. (2020). Monitoring the Presence of Bacteria, Fungi and Parasitic Pathogens Associated with Swimming Pools in Port Harcourt Metropolis. South Asian Journal of Research in Microbiology, 7(4), 31-38.
Original Research Article


Pirofsk L, Cascade A, et al. Questions and answer. What is a pathogen? A question that begs the point. Biology. 2012;10(6)1-6.

Cabral JPS. Water microbiology. Bacterial pathogens and water. International Journal Environmental Research Public Health. 2010;7(10):3657-3703.

Cairns JJ, Dickson KL. Biological methods for the assessment of water quality. American Water Works Association Bulletin. 2003;13-15.

Baldy-Chudzik K, Niedbach J, Stock M. REP-PCR fingerprinting as a tool for the analysis of genomic diversity in Escherichia coli strain isolated from an aqueous freshwater environment. Cellular Molecular Biology Letters. 2003;8:793-798.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. An outbreak of Norovirus gastroenteritis at a swimming club in Vermont. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report. 2004;53:793-795.

World Health Organization. Microbial hazards in guidelines for safe recreational water environments, swimming pools and similar environments. Geneva Switzerland; WHO Press. 2006;26-59.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of parasites in fecal material from chlorinated swimming pools- United States. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report. 2001;50:410-412.

Alkatib I, Salah S. Bacteriological and chemical quality of swimming pool water in developing countries. A case study in the west bank of Palestine. 2006;13(1):17-22.

Eze VC, Onwuakoi CE, Ikweugbu AL. Microbiological and physiochemical characteristics of swimming pool water in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. Journal of Applied Environmental Microbiology. 2015;3:6-10.

World Health Organization. Guidelines for drinking water quality (3rd Ed) WHO Geneva; 2004.

United Nation Development Programme. Water as a source of sickness. United Nation Development Programme Source: A Short Guild. 2004;1:11-13.

Yoder JS, Blackburn BG, Craun GF, Hill V, Levy DA, Chen N, et al. Surveillance of waterborne disease outbreaks associated with recreational water- United States. 2001-2002. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report. 2004;52:1-22.

Vesaluoma M, Kalso S, Jokipil L, Warhurst D, Ponka A, Tervo T. Microbiological quality in Finish public swimming pools and whirlpools with special reference to free-living amoebae; a risk factor for contact lens wearers. British Journal of Ophthalmology. 1995;79:178-181.

Ochei J, Kolhatkar A. Medical laboratory science, theory and practice. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited; 2000.

Cheesebrough M. District Laboratory Practice Countries, Part 2. Cambridge Low Price Editions. 2000;3-8.

Samson RA, Hoekstra ES, Van Oorschot CAN. Introduction to food-borne fungi. 3rd Edition. Centralbulreau Voor Schimelcultures, Baarn. 1981;124.

Payment P, Berube A, Perrcault D, Armon R, Trudel M. Concentration of Giardia lamblia cysts, Legionella pneumophila, Clostridium perfringens, human enteric viruses and coliphages from large volumes of drinking water using a single filtration. Canadian Journal of Microbiological. 1989;35:932-955.

Kfir R, Hilner C, Du Preez M, Bateman B. Studies evaluating the applicability of utilizing the same concentration techniques for the detection of protozoan parasites and viruses in water. Water and Science Technology. 1995;417-423.

World Health Organisation, WHO. Heterotrophic plate counts and drinking-water safety: The significance of HPCs for water quality and human health. 1st Edition. IWA Publishing, London, UK; 2003.

Ekopai JM, Musisi NL, Onyuth H, Namara BG, Sente C. Determination of bacterial quality in randomly selected swimming pools in Kampala City, Uganda. New Journal of Science. 2017;1-7.

Lakshmanaperumalsamy PN, Chandrasekaran ISB, Chandramohanan D. Microbial indicators and pathogens near the mouth region of Vembanadu Lake. Bulletin, Department of Marine Sciences, Cochin University of Science and Technology. 1991;XII(2).

Bello OO, Mabekoje OO, Egberongbe HO, Bello TK. Microbial quality of swimming pools in Lagos, Nigeria. International Journal of Applied Science and Technology. 2012;2(8):89-96.

Barrell RAE, Hunter PR, Nichols G. Microbiological standards for water and their relationship to health risk. Communicable Diseases and Public Health. 2000;3:8-13.

World Health Organisation, WHO. Microbial hazards. In Guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments. Swimming Pools and Similar Environments; WHO Press: Geneva, Switzerland; 2006.

Nichols G. Infection risks from water in natural and man-made environments. European Surveillance. 2006;11:76–78.

Papadopoulou C, Economou V, Sakkas H, Gousia P, Giannakopoulos X, Dontorou C, et al. Microbiological quality of indoor and outdoor swimming pools in Greece: Investigation of the antibiotic resistance of the bacterial isolates. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 2008;211:385–397.

Fine MJ, Smith MA, Carson CA. Prognosis and outcomes of patients with community acquired pneumonia. A meta-analysis. JAMA. 1996;275(2):134-141.

Samuel O, Ginika-Osuorji J, Odibo F, Ojiagu NC. Fungal contamination of public outdoor swimming pools in Awka, Nigeria. American Journal of Life Science Researches. 2017;5(4):160-169.

Itah AY, Ekpombok MM. Pollution status of swimming pools in South-South zone of Southeastern Nigeria using microbiological and physicochemical indices. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 2004;35(2):488-492.

Bolanos B. Dermatophytes to feet infection among students enrolled in swimming courses at a University. Bol. ASO Med. PR. 1991;83:181-184.

Ayandele AA, Adebayo EA, Oladipo EK. Assessment of microbiological quality of outdoor swimming pools in Ilorin, Kwara State. Journal of Environmental Science, Toxicology and Food Technology. 2015;9: 25-30.

Bello OO, Mabekode OO, Egberiode HO, Bello TK. Microbial qualities of swimming pools in Lagos, Nigeria. International Journal of Applied Science and Technology. 2012;2(8):89-96.

Shields JM, Gleim ER, Beach MJ. Prevalence of Cytosporidium spp. and Giardia intestinal is in swimming pools, Atlanta, Georgia. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2008;14(6):948-950.

Pakriejad N, Hajialilo E, Sarael M, Jaradi A. Isolation and identification of Acanthamoeba genotypes and Naegleria spp. from water samples in Qazrin, Iran. Journal of Water and Health. 2020;18(2): 244-251.

Jeon K. The biology of Amoeba. Elsevier. 2012;646.

Fournier S, Dubrou S, Liguory O, Gaussin F, Santillana-Hayat M, Sarfati C, et al. Detection of Microsporidia, Cryptosporidia and Giardia in swimming pools: A one-year prospective study. FEM Immunology and Medical Microbiology. 2002;33(3):209- 213.

APHA (American Public Health Association). Standards for examination of water and wastewater, 21st Edition. APHA: Washington DC, USA; 2005.

WHO. Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality (3rd Edition). World Health Organisation, Geneva. Incorporating the first and second Addenda, Recommendations. 2008;1.

Ajadi FA, Bakare MK, Oyedeji O. Assessment of the physicochemical and microbiological qualities of swimming pools in selected hotels in Osogbo Metropolis, South Western Nigeria. Ife Journal of Science. 2016;18(4): 831-843.

Yedeme K, Legese MH, Gonfa A, Girma S. Assessment of physicochemical and microbiological quality of public swimming pools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Open Microbiology Journal. 2017;98-104.

Saberianpour S, Momtaz H, Ghanbari F, Mahmodi F. Assessment of bacterial and fungal contamination in public swimming pools in Shahrekord. Iranian Journal Tropical Diseases. 2015;4(2):1-4.