Survival, persistence and survival of waterborne pathogens


Convener: Osnat Gillor, BIDR

An understanding of the transport and survival of microbial pathogens in the environment is needed to assess the risk of pathogen contamination to water and food, and to develop control strategies and treatment options. However, many knowledge gaps still remain in predicting the fate and transport of pathogens in surface water, through the vadose zone and in groundwater. A number of transport pathways, processes, factors, and mathematical models were developed to explore pathogen fate in these environments. The level of complexity is dramatically enhanced by variability in pathogen migration pathways, leading to changes in the dominant processes that control pathogen transport over different spatial and temporal scales. Under wet conditions pathogens can survive for extended periods of time thorough various transport events, yet retaining viability and quickly resuscitating when conditions are favorable. Conversely, in dry conditions, pathogen transport depends more strongly on retention at diverse environmental surfaces controlled by a multitude of physical, chemical, and biological factors. This session will describe current advances in the understanding of pathogen fate and transport in water and soil over spatial and temporal scales while attempting to mitigate the risk of waterborne disease transmission.