Microbial contamination of non-household drinking water sources: a systematic review
Drinking water in non-household settings (e.g. schools, health care facilities (HCFs), restaurants, and mass gatherings) that is free of contamination is important for human health, especially in settings with vulnerable populations who are more at risk from the use of unsafe drinking water, such as immunocompromised patients in HCFs and children at school. Few studies have characterized water quality in non-household settings. We examined the quality of drinking water in non-household settings using studies identified through a previous systematic review. This review evaluated the quality (Escherichia coli, thermotolerant coliforms, and total coliforms) of drinking water in non-household settings. We found that drinking water in non-household settings is often non-compliant with health-based standards as defined by the World Health Organization. More research is necessary to determine the extent to which drinking-water quality in non-household settings differs from community settings to better understand how to effectively and appropriately address their challenges unique to safe water in non-household settings. This is of particular relevance to public health since people spend much of their day outside the home where they may consume unsafe water.