A longitudinal study of the association between domestic contact with livestock and contamination of household point-of-use stored drinking water in rural Siaya County (Kenya)

Diogo Trajano Gomes da Silva, James Ebdon, Joseph Okotto‑Okotto Okotto‑Okotto, Frederick Ade, Oscar Mito, Peggy Wanza, S.M. Thumbi, Emmah Kwoba, Thumbi Mwangi, Weiyu Yu, Jim A. Wright

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: Emerging evidence suggests close domestic proximity of livestock and humans may lead to microbiological contamination of hands, objects, food and water supplies within domestic environments, adversely impacting public health. However, evidence quantifying the relationship between livestock, domestic animals, humans and microbiological contamination of household stored water remains limited. Aim: This longitudinal study aimed to examine the relationship between domestic contact with livestock and domestic animals on microbiological contamination of household Point-of-Use (POU) stored drinking water in rural Kenya and assess the influence of choice of faecal indicator on such associations. Methodology: A survey was performed in 234 households in Siaya county, Kenya, to observe presence of livestock (cattle, goats, poultry) and domestic animals (cats, dogs) in household compounds, alongside other risk factors for contamination of POU stored drinking water such as sanitation, storage conditions and hygiene practices. Samples from water sources (e.g. piped, spring/wells, boreholes, surface and rainwater) and from POU storage containers were tested for E. coli and intestinal enterococci. Livestock-related risk factors for water contamination were examined through multinomial regression, controlling for confounders. Results: Rainwater was the main POU water source and was found to be highly susceptible to contamination. Multivariate analysis showed greater risk of gross (>100 CFU/100 mL) water contamination (with E. coli) for households where goats were observed, and/or where poultry roosted in proximity to stored household water (relative risk RR = 2.71; p = 0.001 and RR = 2.02; p = 0.012 respectively). Presence of a poultry coop was also associated with elevated intestinal enterococci densities (RR = 4.46; p = 0.001). Associations between contamination and livestock risk factors were thus similar for both bacteria groups, but E. coli counts declined more rapidly following collection from surface waters than enterococci counts (p = 0.024). Conclusion: The presence of livestock (particularly goats) and poultry within household compounds increases POU water contamination risk, suggesting the need for improved interventions to address cross-contamination within rural domestic settings. Within Siaya county, more effective community education is needed to raise awareness of POU water quality protection, particularly of rainwater.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number113602
    Pages (from-to)1-13
    Number of pages13
    JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2020


    • Water quality
    • faecal indicator bacteria
    • household water storage
    • livestock
    • health risks
    • Kenya
    • Health risks
    • Household water storage
    • Livestock
    • Faecal indicator bacteria


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