Urban Fishing in the Baltimore Watershed
Ellen Silbergeld, Thaddeus Graczyk, Jennifer Roberts
Information from the BES indicates significant contamination of the Gwynns Falls and other urban streams by pathogens from surface runoff, storm water overflows, and leaking sewage lines. We have investigated the potential for pathogen exposure among Baltimore residents who fish on Gwynns Falls, Jones Falls, Herring Run, Middle Branch, Back River, and the Inner Harbor. Urban anglers (defined by fishing location), as compared to recreational anglers (surveyed through state license databases) fish more frequently and also consume their catch at a significantly higher rate. Hazards were identified by rinsing fish and culturing microorganisms. Among the pathogens of concern, we identified cryptosporidium on fish caught at Middle Branch, Back River, and Inner Harbor. We hypothesize that an important and unstudied route of infection may involve hand to mouth activity. To examine this, we are rinsing hands of anglers along with their catch to determine the presence and number of viable cryptosporidia and rate of transfer. Research supported by NIEHS.
Keywords: pathogens, cryptosporidium, Baltimore, fishing

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