Health Concerns on Microbiological Quality of Bottled Drinking Water Sold in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania


 Heterotrophic plate count values, microbial contaminants, antibiotic resistance profiles

How to Cite

Mwambete, K. D., & Sangwa, E. K. (2013). Health Concerns on Microbiological Quality of Bottled Drinking Water Sold in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Journal of Pharmacy and Nutrition Sciences, 3(1), 17–25.


Background:Dar es Salaam City has over 10 million habitants, who are constantly circumvented by water-borne diseases. The city experiences humid and hot weather throughout a year, which lead to high consumption of bottled drinking water because of being perceived as safer than tap or well water. Waterborne disease outbreaks still create havoc among the city habitants. This study determines heterotrophic plate count (HPC) values in bottled water and performs antimicrobial resistance tests on isolated microorganisms.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted. Fifty-four samples of bottled water were randomly purchased from shops, supermarkets and street vendors. HPC values were determined and microbial contaminants identified. The disk diffusion method was employed for testing antimicrobial resistance of microbial contaminants against four widely used antibiotics.

Results: HPC values were variable (4.7 x102 to 7.0 x105 cfu/ml). Majority (86.7%) of analyzed samples revealed high HPC values. Four bacterial species were isolated and identified from 47 samples. Predominant bacterial contaminants were Brevundimonas vesicularis (54.5%), while Pseudomonas thomasii was only isolated from one brand A sample. Brand E samples had the highest HPC values (2.2 x 104 to 2.16 x105 cfu/ml) while F samples were free from microbial contaminants. A total of 21 (46.7%) bacterial isolates were resistant to commonly used antibiotics namely ciprofloxacin, ampicillin, cotrimoxazole and chloramphenicol.

Conclusion: Of 54 analyzed bottled water samples, 47 had high HPC values. High rates of antibacterial resistance was exerted against ciprofloxacin (68.2%) and ampicillin (56%). This calls for responsible authorities to impose more stringent measures on in-process quality control among bottled water producers and indefatigably conduct post- production surveillance to avert the endemic water-borne outbreaks resulting from consumption of such products.


Mkoma SL, Kimambo ON, Mabiki FP, Tungaraza CT. Dependence of Air Quality on Meteorological Parameters in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. TaJONASci 2010; 1(2): 148-56.

Mihayo IZ, Mkoma SL. Chemical Water Quality of Bottled Drinking Water Brands Marketed in Mwanza City, Tanzania. Res J Chemical Sci 2012; 2(7): 21-26.

Chaggu EJ. Sustainable Environmental Protection Using Modified Pit-Latrines. Ph.D Thesis, Wageningen University, The Netherlands 2004.

Kassenga GR. The health-related microbiological quality of bottled drinking water sold in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. J Water Health 2007; 5(3): 367-74.

TFDA-List of registered pre-packaged food products in Tanzania. [cited 2012 October 21]: Available from

TBS: Notice to the public. Quality of packed/bottled drinking water. [cited 2012 Oct 21]: Available from:

Daily News: TFDA orders withdrawal of Jay Dee bottled water. [Cited 2012 Nov 7]: Available from: Jan, 2011.

Kapinga I, Tureski K, Kalenyula N. Tanzania marketing and communications project. PUR Acceptability, usage, and willingness-to-pay rapid assessment. Academy for educational development (AED) and T-MARC Company 2009.

Mayala BK, Mboera LEG, Gwacha F. Maping of chorela risk using geographical infromation system in Ilala District, Tanzania. Tanzania Health Res Bull 2003; 5(1): 8-12.

Blake PA, Rosenberg ML, Florencia J, Costa JB, do Prado Quintino L, Gangarosa EJ. Cholera in Portugal, 1974. II. Transmission by bottled mineral water. Am J Epidemiol 1977; 105(4): 344-48.

Warburton DW, Peterkin PI, Weiss KF, Johnston MA. Microbiological quality of bottled water sold in Canada. Can J Microbiol 1986; 32: 891-93.

Nsaze H, Babarinde Z. Microbiological Quality of Bottled Drinking Water in the UAE and the Effect of Storage at Different Temperatures. Environ Int 1999; 25(1): 53-57.

Ehlers MM, Van Zyl WB, Pavlov DN, Mulle EE. Random survey of the Microbial quality of bottled. Water SA 2004; 30(2): 203-10.

Oie S, Kamiya A, Yoneda I. Microbial contamination of dialysate and its prevention in haemodialysis units. J Hosp Infect 2003; 54: 115-19.

Hernandez Duquino H, Rosenberg FA. Antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas in bottled drinking water. Can J Microbiol 1987; 33(4): 286-9.

Meinhardt PL. Recognizing waterborne disease and the health effects of water pollution: physician on-line reference guide. American Water Works Association and Arnot Ogden Medical Center: 2002 [Cited 2012 Nov 7]: Available from: http://www.

Cheesbrough M. Medical laboratory manual for tropical countries. Microbiology. London, Tropical Health Technology/Butterworths 1989; Vol. II.

Koneman EW. Color atlas and textbook of diagnostic microbiology, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott 1988.

CLSI-methods for dilution of antimicrobial susceptibility tests for bacterial that grow aerobically-approved standards, 8th ed. Vol 29(2): M07-A8. (2009). Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087-1898 USA 2009.

TBS-Compulsory Tanzania Bureau of Standards specification as April 2009. Drinking (portable) water TZS789: 2008 (E) pp 1-19. [cited 2012 Oct 10]: Available from: public_on_drinkin_water.pdf

WHO: Water safety plan manual step-by-step risk management for drinking-water suppliers. WHO guidelines for drinking water quality, 3rd ed. Geneva 2004.

East African Standards for packaged drinking water-specifications. 2nd ed. AES153: 2012-09-28, 2012.

Anaissie EJ, Penzak SR, Dignani MC. The Hospital Water Supply as a Source of Nosocomial Infections. Arch Intern Med 2002; 162(13): 1483-92.

Farley D. "Food safety crucial for people with lowered immunity," FDA Consumer, [Updated 1997 Aug; cited 2012 Dec 4]: Available from:

Page BD, Conacher HB, Salminen J, Nixon GR, Riedel G, Mori B. Survey of bottled drinking water sold in Canada. Part 2. Selected volatile organic compounds. J AOAC Inter 1993; 76(1): 26-31.

Gadgil A. Drinking water in developing countries. Annu Rev Energy Environ 1998; 23: 253-86.

Müller A, Franzen C. Cryptosporidia and microsporidia-waterborne diseases in the immunocompromised host. Diagnostic Microbiol Infect Dis 1999; 34: 245-62.

Bartram J, Corrales L, Davison A, et al. Water safety plan manual: step-by-step risk management for drinking water suppliers. World health organization. Geneva 2009.

Pinto B, Reali D. Screening of estrogen-like activity of mineral water stored in PET bottles. Int J Hyg Environ Health 2009; 212(2): 228-32.

Muhamad SG, Esmail LS, Hasan SH. Effects of storage temperature and sunlight exposure on the physicochemical properties of bottled water in Kurdistan region-Iraq. J Appl Sci Environ Management 2011; 15(1): 127-33.

Shy CM, Stroba RJ. Air and water pollution. In: Scottenfeld D, Fraument JF, Eds. Cancer epidemiology and prevention. Philadelphia Pa: W.B. Saunders 1982; pp. 336-363.

Stickler DJ. The microbiology of natural water. J Roy Soc Health 1992; 4: 118-24.

Warburton DW, Austin JW. Bottled Water. In Lund BM, Baird-Parker AC, Gould GW, Eds. The Microbiological Safety and Quality of Food. Aspen Publishers, Gaithersburg, Maryland 2000.

Gonzalez C, Gutierrez C, Grande T. Bacterial flora in bottled uncarbonated mineral drinking water. Can J Microbiol 1987; 33: 1120-25.

Hunter PR, Burge SH. The bacteria quality of bottled natural mineral waters. Epidemiol Infect 1987; 99: 439-43.

SDWF (safe drinking water foundation). Bottled water. [cited 2012 Oct 21]: Available from: PDFS/resourcesknowthefacts/Bottled_Water.pdf

Ryan SMP, Adley CC. Sphingomonas paucimobilis: a persistent Gram-negative nosocomial infectious organism. J Hosp Infect 2010; 75: 153e-157.

Al-Anazi KA, Jafar SA, Al-Jasser AM, Al-Shangeeti A, Chaudri NA, Al Jurf MD, et al. Septic shock caused by Sphingomonas paucimobilis bacteremia in a patient with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Trans Infect Dis 2008; 10(2); 142-44.

Baird RM, Elhag KM, Shaw EJ. Pseudomonas Thomasii in a hospital distilled-water supply. J Med Microbiol 1976; 9(4): 493-95.

Holmes B, Snell JJ, Lapage SP. Flavobacterium odoratum: a species resistant to a wide range of antimicrobial agents. J Clin Pathol 1979; 32: 73-7.

Yağcı A, Çerikçioğlu N, Kaufmann ME, Malnick H, Söyletir G, Babacan F, et al. Molecular Typing of Myroides odoratimimus (Flavobacterium odoratum) Urinary Tract Infections in a Turkish Hospital. Eur J Cll Microbiol Infect Dis 2000; 19(9): 731-32.

Spanik S, Trupl J, Krcmery V. Nosocomial catheter-associated Flavobacterium odoratum bacteraemia in cancer patients. J Med Microbiol 1998; 47(2): 183.

Ktari S, Mnifa B, Koubaa M, Mahjoubi F, Jemaa MB, Mhiri MN, et al. Nosocomial outbreak of Myroides odoratimimus urinary tract infection in a Tunisian hospital. J Hosp Infect 2012; 80(1): 77-81.

Zhi-Ying Y, Guo-Xiong G, Wei-Qin Z, Zhe-Fu L. Elastolytic activity from Flavobacterium odoratum. Microbial screening and cultivation, enzyme production and purification. Proc Bioch 1994; 29(6): 427-36.

Douce RW, Zurita J, Sanchez O, Cardenas Aldaz P. Investigation of an outbreak of central venous catheter-associated bloodstream infection due to contaminated water. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2008; 29: 364-66.

Maraki S, Sarchianaki E, Barbagadakis S. Myroides odoratimimus soft tissue infection in an immunocompetent child following a pig bite: case report and literature review. Braz J Infect Dis 2012; 16(4): 004 [cited 2012 Dec 22].

Mead PS, Slutsker L, Dietz V, McCaig LF, Bresee JS, Shapiro C, et al., Food-related illness and death in the United States. Emerg Infect Dis 1999; 5607-25.

White DG, Zhao S, Simjee S, Wagner DD, McDermott PF. Antimicrobial resistance of foodborne pathogens. Microbes Infect 2002; 4(4): 405-12.

UNAIDS. Better prospects for preventing infections in those with HIV. Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic. June 2000; 105Y106. [cited 2012 November 20]: Available from: report_en.pdf.

Cohen FL, Tartasky D. Microbial resistance to drug therapy: A review. Am J Infect Control 1997; 25(1): 51-64.

Mermin J, Lule J, Ekwaru JP. Effect of Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis on morbidity, mortality, CD4-cell count, and viral load in HIV infection in rural Uganda. Lancet 2004; 364: 1428-34.

Walker AS, Ford D, Gilks CF, et al. Daily Cotrimoxazole in severely immunosuppressed HIV-infected adults in Africa started on combination antiretroviral therapy: An observational analysis of the DART cohort. Lancet 2010; 375: 1278-86.

Verdier RI, Fitzgerald DW, Johnson WD Jr, Pape JW. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole compared with ciprofloxacin for treatment and prophylaxis of Isospora belli and Cyclospora cayetanensis infection in HIV-infected patients. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2000; 132(11): 885-88.

Todar K. Antimicrobial Agents in the Treatment of Infectious Disease. Textbook of Bacteriology. [cited 2012 Nov 7]: Available from: html

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2013 Kennedy D. Mwambete , Esther K. Sangwa