From more than 90 initial participants in the first pilot call “Environmental Systems Research: Urban Environments”, only 7 projects will be funded with a total funding amount of 4.2 m €. Among them: the project called “The impact of Giardia spp. as a reference pathogen in urban water systems” submitted by Sílvia Cervero-Aragó and her interdisciplinary collaborators of the Medical University of Vienna and TU Wien as partners of the ICC Water & Health.
Giardia is one of the most important waterborne protozoan pathogens worldwide and shall be used as a reference pathogen for risk analysis. The project is strongly interdisciplinary in nature and as such including disciplines like Water Hygiene, Microbiology, Parasitology, Hydrology, Water Quality Management and Risk Assessment & Analysis. The research contains not only the analysis of separate system elements, but also the crosslinking of these elements and the exploration of system dynamics.
Due to the current and future global trend of migration into cities, the quality of urban environments plays an increasingly important role in public health. The aim of the current project is to develop cutting-edge methodologies for generating a new wise-city planning tool for supporting sustainable water management. Following a holistic approach the interdisciplinary team of researchers will investigate the potential sources and flow paths of waterborne pathogens and the associated health impact of using urban surface waters for recreation and drinking water production (riverbank filtration). The waterborne pathogen Giardia that causes gastrointestinal infections in humans and animals will be used as reference pathogen.
As study area, the wastewater impacted River Danube and surrounding urban surface waters were selected. The microbiological quality of wastewater and urban surface waters at multiple levels including Giardia, standard faecal indicators and microbial source tracking markers will be studied. Giardia isolates from stool and water samples will be genotyped. Finally, the data obtained will flow into a hydrological water quality and risk model of the urban study site including the potential exposure routes. The model will be used to assess the risk of acquiring faecal pathogen infections for highly socially relevant future scenarios like climate change, changes in management strategies, migration and urbanization.
These are the academic partners of Sílvias Project:
MedUni Wien: Sílvia Cervero-Arago (PI), Julia Walochnik, Herbert Auer, Gerhard Lindner, Alexander Kirschner, Regina Sommer
TU Wien: Julia Derx (Co-PI), Alfred Paul Blaschke, Rita Linke, Andreas Farnleitner
12.10.2017back to: Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology