Document Type


Session Format

Oral presentation only (in-person)


Arts and Sciences 2-75

Publication Date


Faculty Advisor

Dr. Dave Bachoon

Start Date

27-3-2024 3:30 PM

End Date

27-3-2024 3:40 PM


The northern coastal zones of Puerto Rico, including the San Juan Bay and Rio Grande de Loiza watersheds, are increasingly becoming focal points of environmental concern due to wastewater originating from human activity. This runoff, which consists of effluents from sewage treatment, septic tanks, and animal husbandry, enters coastal lagoons and estuaries, posing critical threats to these vital ecosystems. This study aims to determine the presence of Leptospira in over 100 samples from 16 sub-basins over 2 years as well as identify the major sources of fecal pollution using molecular source tracking techniques. End point PCR assays for Leptospira (LipL32), Human(HF183), Canine(BacCan), Horse(HoF), and a novel rat marker were used to analyze the samples. in 2022, pathogenic Leptospira were detected in ten samples, it appeared that rainfall events increased the presence of pathogenic Leptospira in the estuaries. In 2023, the level of pathogenic Leptospira decreased and it was found in 7 sites. In summary, the presence of pathogenic leptospira was influenced by rat fecal pollution and rainfall events. These pathogens represent a growing threat to public health in the San Juan Bay estuaries.


This session will be also delivered as a poster from 10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. in Magnolia Ballroom.



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