Elucidation of health risks using metataxonomic and antibiotic resistance profiles of microbes in flood affected waterbodies, Kerala 2018

Journal of Flood Risk Management  29 Oct 2020 | doi.org/10.1111/jfr3.12673  

Aparna Shankar ,Devika Jagajeedas , Megha Periyappilly Radhakrishnan , Merin Paul , Lekshmi Narendrakumar , Karthika Suryaletha , Velappan Savithri Akhila , Sudha Babu Nair , Sabu Thomas


The floods of 2018 caused havoc in the State of Kerala, situated in the extreme south-west of India, in terms of infrastructure and health. This research article provides the first-ever assessment of the bacterial diversity and its antibiotic susceptibility of the inundated areas of Pampa, Periyar and Vembanad waterbodies by comparing the data collected in two different time intervals succeeding the calamitous floods that is, immediately after flood and 5 months post-flood. An elevated total coliform count was detected in the waterbodies after the flood thereby rendering it unsafe for drinking. Variation in bacterial diversity was observed in the river and lake water samples with a distinct increase in that of the river samples immediately after flood indicated by shannon diversity index (>5.5). Resistance to ampicillin and cefotaxime was observed in a major proportion of isolates from the three biotopes thus indicating the influence of antibiotic wastes accumulated from different sources of human interventions. Furthermore, operational taxonomic units clustering to Acinetobacter, Legionella, Pseudomonas and Burkholderia genera were detected by metataxonomic analysis which portray as a potential health risk in the future. The article emphasises the importance of adopting sanitation programmes for effective management of epidemic outbreaks post floods.


Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB),
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