Research Article
Detection of Parasitic Contaminants in Sewage Water in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia

M.S. Shathele and E.M. EL Hassan

Research Journal of Parasitology, 2009, 4(2), 63-69.


The study was carried to detect parasitic contaminants such as cysts of Giardia and entamoeba, Cryptosporidium oocysts and taenia eggs in sewage water from small lakes receiving sewage effluents from cabin toilets or directly from sewage treatment plants. There were no parasitic contaminants in the sewage water in the lake as determined by wet mount and floatation methods in Al-Ahsa. The absence of any parasite eggs in the sewage water could be attributed to the small volume of water samples taken for experimentation and to the chlorination treatment of the effluent by the sewage treatment plants. The study provided an excellent opportunity for further investigation to determine different types of water contaminants by applying other methods (specific polymerase chain reaction, PCR-RFLP methods, wound fiberglass cartridge filters and reverse transcription-PCR and commercial enzyme-Immunosorbent assay) in the sewage water in Al-Ahsa Oasis.

ASCI-ID: 84-48

Table 1).

Lakes receiving sewage effluents from cabin toilets or directly from small sewage water treatment plants are expected to harbour protozoan infective stages, such as cysts of Giardia and Entamoeba, oocysts of Cryptosporidium and Taenia eggs. Also, protozoan cysts deposited on soil from animals can contaminate such lakes during rainy season. Furthermore, aquatic helminthes, the causative agents of water based diseases, are expected to be present in such lakes. Although, the lake is formed mainly from different types of discharged effluents, yet all the sewage water samples did not show any parasitic contaminants.

Table 1: Parasitological examination of water samples from lake

This could be attributed to the volume of water samples which was small and reduced the chances to detect these contaminants (Cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts and others). The results agree with those of Schaefer III (1996) who reported that these parasites are usually present in low concentrations in contaminated water and must be concentrated from large volumes of water before detection. The study emphasized that the sensitivity of the detection techniques such as immunofluorescent staining (Schaefer III, 1996), PCR (Mahbubani et al., 1991, 1992; Webster et al., 1993) and ELISA (Da la Cruz and Sivaganesan, 1995) should be used to examine water samples for various contaminants. The results did not agree with those of Uneke and Uneke (2008) who found Oocysts of Cryptosporidium species in all the sampling sites with the highest mean oocyst concentration of 183.3 L-1 of water while the least mean oocyst concentration of 120.6 L-1 of water recorded. The absence of parasitic contaminants in sewage water of the present study are supported by the results of Enriquez et al. (1995), who investigated efficiency of tertiary sand and coal filtration and chlorination on removal of both Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts.


There were no detectable contaminants determined by wet mount and floatation method in the sewage water of Al-Ahsa Oasis. This could be attributed to the chlorination of sewage effluent which might have removed both Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts. Overall, the study provided an excellent opportunity for future investigations of various types of parasitic contaminants in the drainage water in Al-Ahsa Oasis by following different techniques. Because the drainage water is being used indiscriminately for irrigation and can cause health harzards among the farming community.

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