Sewer swab, Europe, 1996
Testing and monitoring the contents of sewers is important as certain diseases – including potentially fatal diseases such as cholera and typhus – are carried in water. The bacteria from those infected can be carried in faeces and potentially transmitted to the water supply. Sewer swabs can help identify the source of disease. Connected to a piece of strong string is a folded muslin bandage. The bandage would be left in or stretched across a sewer or water pipes to collect samples of bacteria.
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Glossary: sewer swab
Micro-organisms which can cause disease but have an important role in global ecology.