One hundred and fifty-one water samples from various drinking water sources from the tsunami affected villages of Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, including the ones damaged due to tsunami before the implementation of clean-up and decontamination procedures by the local administration and the water supply to the 54 relief shelters, were collected in sterile plastic containers from December 28, 2004 onwards for overall analysis of coliform count and pathogens like Salmonella and Vibrio by commercial rapid water testing kits. In addition, nine well water samples from Colachel coastal area were transported in dry ice to the department of microbiology, Dr. ALM postgraduate institute of basic medical sciences, Chennai, for specific bacteriological analysis.
Coliform test (presence or absence)
The presence or absence of Coliform bacteria from drinking water sources were detected using the commercially available PA Coliform test kit, HiMedia laboratories, India. A positive coliform test indicates feacal contamination in the water sample.
Test for Escherichia coli
Rapid detection and confirmation of Escherichia coli based on enzyme-substrate reaction was performed using the commercially available HiSelective E.coli test kit, HiMedia Laboratories, India.
Test for Salmonella and Vibrio species
Rapid detection of Salmonella species and Vibrio species were tested by commercially available Rapid HiWater Test kits, HiMedia Laboratories, India. This test also detects E.coli and Citrobacter species.
Test for culture and isolation
All the nine samples received on dry ice were tested for MPN for coliforms and culture on nutrient agar, MacConkey's agar and blood agar for isolation and identification of specific pathogens and the bacterial isolates were confirmed by biochemical tests.