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Point-of-Use Interventions to Decrease Contamination of Drinking Water: A Randomized, Controlled Pilot Study on Efficacy, Effectiveness, and Acceptability of Closed Containers, Moringa oleifera, and In-home Chlorination in Rural South India

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  • Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island; Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
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To assess water contamination and the relative effectiveness of three options for point-of-use water treatment in South India, we conducted a 6-month randomized, controlled intervention trial using chlorine, Moringa oleifera seeds, a closed valved container, and controls. One hundred twenty-six families participated. Approximately 70% of public drinking water sources had thermotolerant coliform counts > 100/100 mL. Neither M. oleifera seeds nor containers reduced coliform counts in water samples from participants' homes. Chlorine reduced thermotolerant coliform counts to potable levels, but was less acceptable to participants. Laboratory testing of M. oleifera seeds in water from the village confirmed the lack of reduction in coliform counts, in contrast to the improvement seen with Escherichia coli seeded distilled water. This discrepancy merits further study, as M. oleifera was effective in reducing coliform counts in other studies and compliance with Moringa use in this study was high.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Jacqueline Firth, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, RI 02903. E-mail: jacqfirt@gmail.com

Financial support: This study was supported by the Fluid Research Funds of Christian Medical College. Jacqueline Firth received financial and logistical support from the Fogarty-Ellison Fellowship administered by the U.S. National Institutes of Health for this research as a medical student.

Authors' addresses: Jacqueline Firth, Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics residency, Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, E-mail: jacqfirt@gmail.com. Vinohar Balraj, Department of Community Health, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, E-mail: Vinohar@cmcvellore.ac.in. Jayaprakash Muliyil, Department of Community Health, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, E-mail: Jayaprakash@cmcvellore.ac.in. Sheela Roy, Department of Gastroenterology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, E-mail: wellcome@cmcvellore.ac.in. Lilly Michael Rani, Department of Gastroenterology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, E-mail: wellcome@cmcvellore.ac.in. R. Chandresekhar, Department of Gastroenterology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, E-mail: wellcome@cmcvellore.ac.in. Gagandeep Kang, Department of Gastroenterology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India, E-mail: gkang@cmcvellore.ac.in.

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