• Reviving the "Moore Swab": a Classic Environmental Surveillance Tool Involving Filtration of Flowing Surface Water and Sewage Water To Recover Typhoidal Salmonella Bacteria

      Sikorski, M.J.; Levine, M.M. (American Society for Microbiology, 2020)
      The "Moore swab" is a classic environmental surveillance tool whereby a gauze pad tied with string is suspended in flowing water or wastewater contaminated with human feces and harboring enteric pathogens that pose a human health threat. In contrast to single volume "grab" samples, Moore swabs act as continuous filters to "trap" microorganisms, which are subsequently isolated and confirmed using appropriate laboratory methods. Continuous filtration is valuable for the isolation of transiently present pathogens such as human-restricted Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A and B. The technique was first proposed (1948) to trace Salmonella Paratyphi B systematically through sewers to pinpoint the residence of a chronic carrier responsible for sporadic outbreaks of paratyphoid fever. From 1948 to 1986, Moore swabs proved instrumental to identify long-term human reservoirs (chronic carriers) and long-cycle environmental transmission pathways of S Typhi and Paratyphi, for example, to decipher endemic transmission in Santiago, Chile, during the 1980s. Despite limitations such as intermittent shedding of typhoidal Salmonella by humans and the effects of dilution, S Typhi and S Paratyphi have been recovered from sewers, surface waters, irrigation canals, storm drains, flush toilets, and septic tanks by using Moore swabs. Driven by the emergence of multiple antibiotic-resistant S Typhi and S Paratyphi A strains that limit treatment options, several countries are embarking on accelerated typhoid control programs using vaccines and environmental interventions. Moore swabs, which are regaining appreciation as important components of the public health/environmental microbiology toolbox, can enhance environmental surveillance for typhoidal Salmonella, thereby contributing to the control of typhoid fever. Copyright 2020 Sikorski and Levine.