African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5211

Full Length Research Paper

Detection of Enterococcus species in groundwater from some rural communities in the Mmabatho area, South Africa: A risk analysis

Collins Njie Ateba* and Merapelo Duke Maribeng
  Department of Biological Sciences, School of Environmental and Health Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Science and Technology, North-West University – Mafikeng Campus, Private Bag X2046, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 09 September 2011
  •  Published: 23 October 2011



In South Africa, individuals who reside in most rural areas do not have access to portable water and they rely on untreated water from boreholes. This exposes them to disease causing microorganisms. The aim of the study was to isolate and determine the antibiotic susceptibility profiles of enterococcus in ground water from three rural communities in the Mmabatho area, North-West Province of South Africa. Enterococcus selective agar (ESA) was used for selective isolation of Enterococci species. The identities of the isolates were determined using preliminary (Gram staining, catalase test, oxidase test) and confirmatory (API 20 Strep and the ProlexTM Streptococcal Grouping Rapid Latex Agglutination test kit) test. Two hundred and twenty five presumptive isolates were screened and 139 were positively identified. Three enterococcus species were identified; Enterococcus faecium(71.2%), Enterococcus faecalis (23.0%) and Enterococcus avium (5.8%). A large proportion of the isolates (73.4%) belonged to the Lands field group D serotype when compared to the G group (26.6%). A large proportion of the isolates (75 to 100%) from Ramosadi and Seweding were resistant to vancomycin, penicillin G, erythromycin, chloramphenicol, oxytetracycline, amoxycilin and sulphamethoxazole. Isolates from Mothlabeng showed little resistance against these drugs. The identification of vancomycin-resistant enterococci was a cause for concern since they pose a severe challenge to the medical profession. The natural hosts of E. faecium and E. faecalis are humans and animals. From these results, it is proposed that the isolates could have originated from contamination of these water sources with faeces since most of the boreholes are constructed near the pit toilets.      


Key words: Enterococcus faeciumEnterococcus faecalisEnterococcus avium, Vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), multiple antibiotic resistance.