About coliform bacteria

Updated June 02, 2017

Coliform bacteria are an umbrella term for many types of bacteria, some of which can make humans ill. It has been found in food and drinking water, and its presence is an indicator of other contaminants. Contaminated drinking water is one of the leading causes of illness in developing countries.

What is Coliform Bacteria?

Coliform bacteria are a type of organism known as gram-negative. E. coli, or Escherichia coli, is a type of coliform bacteria that people are most often familiar with.

Where to Find Coliform Bacteria

Coliform bacteria live primarily in the intestines of warm-blooded animals and come out in their faeces. Because coliform bacteria are present in faeces, it can also be found in soil and water where warm-blooded animals defecate.

Tests to Determine if Coliform Bacteria is Present

There is a test to determine whether coliform bacteria are present in water, known as the coliform index. Water is generally tested for coliform bacteria because it is an indicator other types of bacteria that can harm humans could be present in water. Only some types of coliform bacteria make humans ill.

How to Get Rid of Coliform Bacteria that is Present in Water

There are many ways to purify water that has been contaminated with coliform bacteria. Boiling water before drinking it, using a specific proportion of chlorine bleach to gallons of well water and using a LifeStraw are examples.

What Diseases are Associated with Coliform Bacteria Contamination?

The presence of coliform bacteria is not necessarily connected to illness or disease, but there are certain symptoms and illnesses that are commonly associated with water that has been contaminated with coliform bacteria. E. coli, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever, hepatitis and dysentery are examples.

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