» Study objectives
1. To find out whether well water is a potential source of bacteria
that are resistant to antibiotics.
- Bacteria are a natural part of life and many water sources,
including wells, are contaminated with bacteria. Some types of
bacteria can cause serious illness.
- The study investigators will compare the environment surrounding
wells contaminated with bacteria that are antibiotic resistant
to wells that are not contaminated to find out what factors may
lead to contamination of wells with antibiotic resistant bacteria.
2. To find out whether people using well water contaminated with
antibiotic-resistant bacteria are more likely to carry antibiotic-resistant
bacteria in their intestinal tract (gut).
- Most strains of bacteria found in the human gut cause no harm
and are found in nearly all healthy people. Once acquired, people
may carry these bacteria in their gut for a long time. However,
these bacteria are among the most common causes of infections
in humans and they may carry genes linked with antibiotic resistance.
- The study investigators will compare the people using water
from both contaminated and uncontaminated wells to find out
what factors may lead to the people having antibiotic resistant
bacteria in their gut.
For more information please read:
» How the study works
This study will collect information from people in 900 households
- Live in counties served by the London, Hamilton, Ottawa,
Kingston, Peterborough, Orillia, or Toronto Public Health Laboratories
- Use private well water for drinking, cooking, and/or washing
- Have sent a water sample for bacteriological testing between
April 1, 2005 and September 30, 2006
- The researchers need to talk to some people with water
that tested positive for E. coli and some people whose water
- Only a small fraction of people, who will be selected
at random, will be phoned.
- 12 years and older
- Speak English
» Benefits in participating in study
Although there is not any known benefit for any individual participating
in the study, the results of this investigation may help find out
what factors are linked with contamination of private wells with
antibiotic-resistant bacteria so it may be prevented in future.
This study may also help determine what things are linked with humans
carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their gut so they can
» Risks in participating in study
Although it is highly unlikely, there is a small risk of rectal
perforation while performing the rectal swab.
» What you will be asked to do if
you agree to participate
The study consists of two separate parts.
- The first is a visit to your home to interview you about your
property, household, and well. The interviewer will also tour
your property to note the location of your well, septic system,
open water, pastures, and farm buildings. This should take about
- The second part is a personal interview about your health and,
to find out which bacteria live in your gut, we will ask you to
give us a rectal swab. A rectal swab one of the only ways of finding
out which bacteria live in a person’s gut. Each interview
should take about 20 minutes.
Participation in this study is completely voluntary.
- People contacted may refuse to participate. They are free to
withdraw from the study at any time during the study. They may
refuse to answer any question or to complete any interview, even
if they have already started it.
- All personal information will be kept confidential and only
grouped data will be published or released to the public.
- Personal information, such as names, will be replaced by a
number on all surveys and specimens to protect privacy.
- The study has been approved by an Ethics Review Board.
- Dr. Frances Jamieson, Laboratory Services Branch, Ministry
of Health and Long-Term Care
- Dr. Rebecca Irwin, Health Canada
- Bruce Ciebin, Ontario Public Health Laboratories
This website has been made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from
Pfizer Canada Inc.